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Construction re-imagined at FCON 2024

The Gen Z panel discussion held at FCON 2023 in Melbourne. (Image: FuturePlace)

For the fourth successful year, the Future of Construction Summit (FCON) is back, focused on creating a more progressive, productive and sustainable industry.

FCON has set the benchmark in Australia as the annual industry event where critical issues related to policy, reform, productivity, project pipelines, sustainability, innovation and technology are discussed, and important relationships are forged.

Launched in 2021, FCON has previously been held in Sydney and Melbourne. In 2024, it relocates to Brisbane, acknowledging the “once-in-a-generation” infrastructure boom taking place in Queensland, where billions of dollars are being invested to deliver the 2032 Olympic Games and support an ever-growing population.

Recent data by Arcadis highlights that South-East Queensland will continue to see a significant rise in the volume of major project spend over the next five years. This construction boom will be predominantly led by government investment, and the strongest and most active sectors will comprise:

  • Civil/road infrastructure ($9 billion between 2024 and 2032);
  • Rail infrastructure ($8.6 billion between 2024 and 2032);
  • 2032 Games investment ($7 billion);
  • Health (Capital Expansion Program – $5.5 billion); and
  • Education, housing and other critical infrastructure.

On 14 and 15 May 2024, the industry’s foremost thought leaders from across the nation will assemble at the Royal International Convention Centre in Brisbane to discuss the big priorities for the coming 12 months and why and how the construction industry needs to evolve.

The program has been developed in true collaboration with leading figures representing contractors, infrastructure and asset owners, financiers, industry think-tanks, technology leaders, material suppliers and sustainability experts. It’s a program that is fit for the times – reflecting the big challenges, opportunities and ideas reshaping the sector.

The first day of the event will commence with a Government Address by Leah Kelly, deputy director-general from Queensland’s Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning. This will be followed by an update on one of Queensland’s most transformational projects – the Cross River Rail. Spanning a remarkable 17 construction sites and employing thousands of workers, the Cross River Rail project comprises 10.2 kilometres of track, 5.9 kilometres of tunnelling, several new stations, and the redevelopment of three others between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

During the morning of Day One, the Australian Construction Industry Forum (ACIF) will deliver the ACIF Forecast Briefing, which will highlight the projects being funded across Australia and what this means for project owners, constructors, government and the entire industry.

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Interactive Roundtable discussions held at FCON 2023 in Melbourne. (Image: FuturePlace)
Interactive Roundtable discussions held at FCON 2023 in Melbourne. (Image: FuturePlace)

There will also be a construction leaders panel discussion examining the macro trends driving change and opportunity across the construction sector, featuring Camilla Drover, deputy secretary, infrastructure and place at Transport for NSW; Jason Spears, managing director at CPB Contractors; Louise Adams, group chief operating officer at Aurecon; Graeme Newton, chief executive officer at the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority; and Trevor Cooke, chief executive officer at Commercial & General.

In the afternoon, leading Queensland departments will share updates on the progress of projects being undertaken, the labour required to deliver them, and the impact on both the construction industry and Queensland.

Achieving a more diverse and inclusive workforce has been the goal of construction companies for some time. Leading figures with responsibility for people and culture, along with key industry associations, will discuss how the sector can foster cultural change, encouraging more women, Gen Z and Indigenous Australians into construction.

Sustainability will also be a big topic on the first day, with Fulton Hogan’s case study on dealing with the Scope 3 data challenge and a comprehensive panel discussion on net zero and more sustainable construction practices. The panel will include representatives from Bouygues Construction Australia, Lendlease, Aurecon, John Holland Group, the Infrastructure Sustainability Council and the Australian Sustainable Built Environment Council.

Moving towards the second day, the morning program will focus on collaboration and productivity, with an opening international presentation on how innovation and technology play a fundamental role in developing unique solutions for complex construction projects.

The second day will also examine coopetition and how contractors can both partner and compete for the greater good. Considering the complex nature of infrastructure projects and ways to solve the productivity crisis, c-level executives from CIMIC Group, Richard Crookes, Hansen Yuncken, ADCO Constructions and Helix Legal will discuss how to foster greater industry collaboration and break down internal silos that hinder the impact of technology and compromise projects.

Collaboration and productivity topics will also cover artificial intelligence (AI), digital twins, prefab modular construction, worksite safety and the perspective of venture capital.

Regarding technology investment and implementation, it is crucial to explore all considerations when making a technology investment and the secrets to securing a return on investment across multiple projects and stakeholders. Specialists from McConnell Dowell, John Holland, Mirvac and RSGx will present a panel discussion and Dean James, digital design manager at Richard Crookes, will share a case study on exploring the role digital design is having on the automation of construction processes.

To wrap up two days of insights from industry leaders, the focus will be on digital innovation. Another stellar panel will cover how to create a future-ready, agile business that can fully leverage the benefits of digital technology through organisational change management. The afternoon will also showcase McMahon Services’ case study on custom building a ConTech application and the now famous ConTech SharkTank, featuring four leading start-ups, delivering solutions to meet the ever-evolving challenges of the construction sector.

This year’s FCON is proudly supported by the ACIF, the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council (APCC), the Queensland Major Contractors Association (QMCA), the Infrastructure Association of Queensland (IAQ), the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), Australian Owned Contractors (AOC), the Society of Construction Lawyers Australia (SoCLA) and MATES in Construction.

For more information and how to register for FCON 2024, visit: futureofconstructionsummit.com

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