10 takeaways from the SCSI Connected Conference

The SCSI Connected Conference 18 was packed with useful information. Here are ten of the most important things talked about on the day that property and construction surveyors should know.

  1. There is strength in Community

This is what SCSI President Des O’Broin said after the launch of the SCSI report ‘Rejuvenating Ireland’s small town centres’. One of the authors of the report, Stephen Purcell of Future Analytics said small town centres need to be given the support and opportunity to survive and thrive. The report found that some success factors include strong leadership, plan-led change, community support and buy in, and the provision of high-quality broadband. The recommendation to replace the removed Town Councils with a Town Partnership model was a recommendation that will likely to receive more attention in 2019.

  1. Too often, we stay in our own bubble

In his opening address Des O’Broin stressed the importance of the different surveying disciplines working together. When you don’t know the answer to a question, it adds value to your business if you know the name of someone who does.

  1. A great place to work means great performance

John Ryan of Great Place to Work Ireland spoke about what makes an organisation a great place to work. The key is getting the culture, trust and well-being right. You need to define the culture of your organisation. The way to do this is to have a conversation with everyone who works there. Is it a high-performance culture? Is it somewhere your employees can grow? People are loyal to a culture, not a strategy.

  1. Qualifications are becoming less important

John Ryan said that some companies are less focused on specific qualifications than they were in the past. The reason for this is that they don’t know what the future is going to be like. What is becoming more important is that workers are adaptable.

  1. People need to believe you’re fair to them

John Ryan said fairness, respect and credibility are what make a great place to work. Organisations need to focus on inspiring, speaking and listening to people. You should thank, care and develop people so they’ll give you their personal best. Caring for employees should be strategic rather than tactical.

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  1. Working from home is smart working

Vanessa Tierney runs Abodoo, a website which links people who want to work from home with companies looking for them. She says that working from home is smart working because it increases productivity and reduces attrition. More and more it is becoming something people are going to expect and statistics show that people will leave an inflexible job for a flexible one. Director General of the SCSI Áine Myler said the SCSI is embracing smart working.

  1. Creativity is having a great effect on saving small town centres

The SCSI report mentions examples of small towns doing things right to keep their centres alive. Westport in Co. Mayo created a profile of the town, which included character assessments, an infrastructure audit and a discussion on the potential for tourism. This allowed for coherent development of Westport. Skibbereen in Co. Cork set about repurposing vacant units, one of which was turned into a digital hub. This is now a co-working space that can facilitate up to 75 people and has provided coding classes to local people.

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L to R Aine Myler , Stephen Purcell & Des O Broin

  1. To increase housing stock, we have to increase immigration

According to Kieran McQuinn of the ESRI, we have set ourselves very ambitious targets for house building over the next few years and with the shortage of construction worker. The only way we will meet these targets is by getting them from elsewhere. However, this will put more pressure on the housing market in the short term and this may put construction workers off coming here. Immigrants will come from places they have come from in the past such as Eastern Europe, but there will be others from Africa and Brazil.

  1. Regulation to help agents

Maeve Hogan of the Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) said the regulator will be publishing a Code of Conduct for Property Services Providers. Unlicensed practitioners operating in the market is an issue that the PSRA are tackling head on. Maeve said “since the application of mandatory letter of engagements, many agents are now seeing the benefits these provide in instances of complaints”.

  1. “Projects tend to work best when people work together.”

Graeme Tinney of insurers Griffiths & Armour said that for some reason, we often put barriers in place to stop this. The UK government in 2011 trialled the Integrated Project Insurance (IPI) model on the Dudley College Advance 2 project. This is where parties agree not to sue, where there is no blame culture and collaboration is supported. Graeme said the project was delivered on time, below cost and shone a light on hidden costs.

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