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More than 500 delegates attended CMIC14.
More than 500 delegates attended CMIC14.

Industry conference puts productivity in focus

Quarry and construction professionals convened in Brisbane last week to discuss how to improve industry productivity at the 2014 Construction Materials Industry Conference.

The fifth joint conference to be held by the IQA and Cement Concrete Aggregates Australia (CCAA) hosted more than 500 industry members from across Australia, as well as New Zealand, Germany, UK, US and Ireland at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC). The conference ran from Wednesday 3 to Saturday 6 September.

In a first for this event, the CMIC14 technical speaker program was preceded by an exhibition open day on Wednesday that was dedicated to showcasing the innovative products and services of 55 exhibitors. In addition to the booths, a number of pieces of machinery were on show, including on-road and off-road trucks and a drill rig. These bordered an area that was used throughout the conference for vendor demonstrations, offering delegates further insight into how various equipment and services could be used to increase efficiency in their operations.

Speaker program
Thursday and Friday took on a more educational tone with the technical speaker program, during which delegates heard from a range of industry leaders and experts on the CMIC14 theme of Building Productivity.

IQA general manager Paul Sutton opening the conference.
IQA general manager Paul Sutton opening the conference.

Speaker program
Thursday and Friday took on a more educational tone with the technical speaker program, during which delegates heard from a range of industry leaders and experts on the CMIC14 theme of Building Productivity.

The conference was officially opened by IQA general manager Paul Sutton and CCAA CEO Ken Slattery, followed by a brief speech from Queensland Minister for Housing and Public Works Tim Mander on the importance of a strong construction industry as one of the “four pillars” that supports Queensland’s economy.

The first day of the technical program included a keynote presentation from Boral CEO and managing director Mike Kane. Kane drew attention to the decline in Australia’s competitiveness, attributing this to high costs, lack of productivity in construction sites and the current regulatory environment.

He was particularly scathing of “monopolist unions” that he stated were threatening the industry by trying to control construction sites, calling for “effective enforcement of secondary boycott prohibitions and applications of anti-cartel provisions of the competition law” and encouraging the industry to “[band] together to put an end to this sordid blot”.

He also pointed out that an effort to address these issues was already underway, stating that Boral had approached the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which now has a “dedicated team undertaking a deep investigation into the matter”, with a Royal Commission also conducting an inquiry.

Kane closed his address with an appeal to the industry to support legislative changes in this area and to “speak up”.

The remainder of the speaker program consisted of both plenary and concurrent sessions, including two panel discussions. Topics included: the Australian economic outlook; skills, organisational practices and technological innovations; responding to customers’ productivity needs; “big picture” trends likely to impact on industry; and lessons for Australia’s construction industry from its international counterparts.

Social functions
While days were spent learning, nights were spent socialising. Three dinners were held from Wednesday to Friday by the major CMIC14 sponsors Caterpillar, Komatsu and Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia to allow delegates to establish new business connections and strengthen existing ones in a fun and relaxed setting.

Boral CEO and managing director Mike Kane delivered the keynote presentation.
Boral CEO and managing director Mike Kane delivered the keynote presentation.

Social functions
While days were spent learning, nights were spent socialising. Three dinners were held from Wednesday to Friday by the major CMIC14 sponsors Caterpillar, Komatsu and Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia to allow delegates to establish new business connections and strengthen existing ones in a fun and relaxed setting.

Delegates were invited to celebrate the opening of the conference at Hitachi’s welcome reception on Wednesday evening. Held in the BCEC, attendees enjoyed a range of drinks and canapés before being entertained by an enthralling light show from Lazer Man. A magician also drifted around the room, delighting groups with a variety of impressive illusions.

The following night, delegates were treated to an elegant three-course meal, also held in the BCEC, by Komatsu. The theme of the dinner was Fire and Ice and the night’s entertainment included a performance from a dance troupe that incorporated live flames, acrobatics and singing, followed by two bands – a cover band and a trio of female soul singers – who enticed delegates to the dance floor.

The final dinner was a lavish event hosted by Caterpillar at the Brisbane City Hall. For the first time, the gala dinner included a dress-up theme – The Great Gatsby – and everyone was keen to be involved, with the men sporting pinstripes and fedoras while the ladies donned feathers and pearls. The 1920s theme carried through into the subsequent entertainment, which included a song and dance performance, as well as a cover band that put a jazz spin on some current music.

The following morning, delegates also attended a brunch and fundraising auction hosted by the Australian Institute of Quarrying Education Foundation (AIQEF), with some of the items sold including drill consumables, an IQA 2015 travel and conference package, a voucher for two days’ consultancy work and a year’s worth of static dust gauge testing.

Awards
In addition to educating delegates on some of the most topical issues currently facing the industry, CMIC14 also recognised and celebrated key industry members – both companies and individuals – through the presentation of the IQA’s annual awards.

This year’s IQA award winners included:

  • Hitachi Gold Hard Hat Award: Todd Kalajzich, Boral.
  • Trimble Loadrite Lean Processes Award: Richard Tomkins, Boral.
  • Volvo Environment Award: Samantha Smith, Fulton Hogan.
  • Southern Cross Engineering/Rocktec Innovation Award: Matt Hardy, Boral.
  • Hyundai Best Technical Paper Award: Alasdair Webb, Holcim.
  • Caterpillar Continuous Improvement Award: Chris Hamilton, Holcim.
  • ESCO Young Members Award: James Rowe, Penrice.
  • Best Small Exhibit: Trimble Loadrite.
  • Best Large Exhibit: CJD/Volvo.
  • IQA Honorary Fellow: Sam Grima.
  • IQA Service Award: Paul Soden.
  • AIQEF Alex Northover Award: Brett Dunstan, Holcim.

The CCAA also presented its 2014 National EHS Awards during the Caterpillar gala dinner. The Environmental Innovation Award went to Boral for its concrete plant and water treatment system in Eagle Farm, Queensland, and the Health and Safety Innovation Award was awarded to Hanson Construction Materials for the ripper boot change-out stand and winch handling system it developed at its Central Coast sands quarry in NSW.

An in-depth review of CMIC14 will appear in a forthcoming issue of Quarry.

The IQA’s next annual conference will be at the Adelaide Convention and Exhibition Centre from 14 to 17 October 2015.

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Tuesday, 25 September, 2018 01:28pm
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