Building BILT ANZ

It’s been a busy few weeks for the BILT ANZ committee. This time last week I was enjoying a day off sightseeing in Adelaide after four days of the BILT committee workshop. Yep, that’s right, this year for the first time, the organising workshop is longer than the conference!  In the week leading up to the workshop, we also managed to cram in three teleconferences to review abstracts. It was just as well Harriet came prepared with coffee, chips and cake.
We were also pleased to welcome onsite the newest member of our committee, Chris Penn. Chris’s knowledge of the construction sector, as well as of the local Adelaide market is already proving invaluable to our efforts.  If you don’t know Chris and missed last weeks post, you can find an introduction to Chris here.
The main focus of our time onsite is spent in finalising the program. This year we received a record number of abstracts, which had kept us all busy reading and evaluating in the lead up to the workshop. The quality of submissions is generally very high (except those people who clearly rushed – you know who you are!) so it does take us some time to narrow down the accepted submissions. Once onsite, we reviewed most of the abstracts for a second time (and some a third and fourth) as we worked through which submissions were going to make for great classes, that would attract enough attendees and not to be too similar to other presentations. A lot of factors come into the decision and one of the additional task we were able to undertake with the extra day this year, was a review of the abstract evaluation process and the questions we score against, so next year it will be more thorough than ever.
We also needed to review and consider invited speakers and topics, particularly for our newer construction, estimating, planning and ARCHICAD streams. We debated the ideal numbers of sessions and number of labs. We want to be able to provide you with plenty of choice, but at the same time we know you want to see the best speakers and we don’t want our speakers to present to an empty room.  We have confirmed the keynote, so look out for an announcement on this topic soon.
We also had the opportunity to walk around the Adelaide Convention Centre and evaluate the different spaces and rooms, question the AV and taste test the catering. We visited venues for the functions and started planning the gala dinner. We discussed marketing, competitions, and did a test drive of the registration site.
Somehow, we also found some time to check out some of the local restaurants and bars, and we look forward to bringing you some recommendations of where to meet and eat or drink, both during and before or after the conference, should you choose to stay a day or two in or around Adelaide.
On a personal note, as my first conference workshop, I really enjoyed being a part of it and was very impressed at how helpful and welcoming everyone has been.  I have a  nine month old baby, and needed some flexibility around my arrival as well as bringing her and my partner along to Adelaide over the weekend.
We are all really excited and energised after the workshops, having come up with lots of great ideas, Now we just have to get to work so we can bring you the first BILT ANZ that’s better than any RTC you ever attended!
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