The Annual Conference’s theme was thought provoking for all of us, writes TOM DUNNE.

Einstein is reputed to have said that he never thinks about the future; it comes soon enough. This would appear to be good advice on a personal level, particularly in a period of rapid change. However, the construction and property industries by their very essence are about the long term and Chartered Surveyors therefore have to think about the future more than most if they are to be successful professional advisers.
Contributions to this year’s Annual Conference, covered in this edition, should be read for the insights from contributors which help surveyors to see movements affecting their profession. James Maddock’s presentation covered transformations already disrupting surveyors’ working lives and attitudes that will utterly change the workplace of the future. Notably, he pointed out that some of the future is here already in the shape of the ‘gig’ or ‘sharing’ economy. Importantly for surveyors, ‘disintermediation’ (where consumers facilitated by technology can go directly to clients or indeed stop using agents who can be replaced by technology) is being experienced already. Understanding what is happening makes us all the more prepared and the insightful contribution from Eamon Ryan, Leader of the Green Party, was equally enlightening.
Also important for the future is the question of gender diversity in the construction industry and John O’Regan’s piece on this tells us about an issue that is becoming increasingly crucial. As the AECOM executive points out, the problem starts with the number of women choosing to pursue construction-related subjects at third level – perhaps because of the lack of female role models. The Society currently has two outstanding females in top positions, one as President and the other the newly-appointed Director General, who I am sure all wish well in her new role.
Finally, readers will be sad to read about the passing of Kevin Callan, who I personally found to be particularly supportive over many years in the ongoing development of our surveying and construction management programmes in the DIT. He was a valued graduate and we very much appreciated his wise counsel.