Irish construction industry capable of becoming a world leader

We need to utilise the latest technologies to build efficiently and economically, says Tom Dunne of DIT Bolton Street

4th September, 2017
Tom Dunne, Head of School of Surveying and Construction Management at DIT

What's your name?

Tom Dunne

What’s your current job?

Head of School of Surveying & Construction Management at DIT Bolton Street.

How long have you held the position?

20 years

Can you describe your daily work routine?

Varies a lot depending on the stage of the academic year. Busy with meetings and administration at the start of semesters but after a month it settles down and different days mean different activities including lectures and tutorials, a lot of reading and meetings. At the end of semesters my days are taken up with assessment and exam boards and reviews of programmes.

What is your professional background?

A chartered surveyor. I started professional life in a real estate consultancy working for a large firm of estate agents, valuers and surveyors. This work was very varied and I was exposed to a full range of professional practice across all sectors of the property market. I spent a lot of rewarding years involved in the Society of Chartered Surveyors and the RICS.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

I spend a good deal of time reading research and other material related to my work - which, believe it or not, is endlessly interesting. Discussions about real estate, planning and housing and the property market can be consuming! Apart from spending time with my family I have a share in a boat which, along with my partners we race in Dublin Bay, and during the winters I spend time hillwalking.

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I am tone deaf and can’t sing even though I really enjoy some types of music.

You are speaking at the forthcoming CIF Annual Conference. What is the focus of your talk?

What to do about the housing problem. We have to learn lessons from the past and use the current crisis to create a structure which will ensure there is more stability in housing in future. We have to be careful when responding to the acute phase of the current housing problem that we do not build in to our towns and cities the seeds of serious problems that will cost more in the future. Ideally we should create a housing sector that will meet the needs of people for homes at various stages of their lives and diminish the incentives that exist to use housing as a speculative property asset.

What challenges do you see for the construction sector?

Getting qualified staff to build real quality in the built environment. Well-off people require very good environments to work and live and the construction industry has to provide this. The danger is that we respond to acute shortages with poor quality buildings and environments built quickly without adequate controls and supervision. The Irish construction industry is capable of becoming a world leader by embracing high standards and using the latest technologies such as BIM (building information modelling) to build efficiently and economically.

Where would you like to see the industry in 10 years time?

Regarded as a world leader in the field.

Tom Dunne, Head of School of Surveying and Construction Management, DIT will be appearing at the Construction Industry Federation's Annual Conference at Croke Park on October 12th. For more information on tickets, which are open to members and non-members, please visit

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