Keynote speakers

Tuesday May 31                                                     

"Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary roadmap and initiatives towards resilient urbanization"

Dr. Dongping FANG is a Professor at Tsinghua University, China

Keynote on Tuesday May 31 at 9.30

He is the head of Dept. of Construction Management in the School of Civil Engineering and the founding director of The Collaborative Innovation Centre for Sustainable Urbanization. His research, teaching and consulting are in the area of safety and risk management in construction and sustainable urbanization in which more than 200 reports, papers and books in English and Chinese have been published.

Dongping is currently a vice president of CIB and its priority theme leader for resilient urbanization. He is a member of the executive committee of Global Leadership Forum for CEM programs (GLF-CEM). He is honored as Visiting Eminent Scholar (2006) at the Del E. Webb School of Construction, Arizona State University, USA; "Jubilee Professor" (2007) at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden; Visiting Professor (2009-2012) at Loughborough University, UK; and Visiting Professor (2006-2009, 2013-2016) at UNSW, Australia. He serves as members of editorial board of many international peer reviewed journals and board of directors of contractors, governmental committees and professional associations.


 "Location obscurity: How information technology may change the building and construction sector"

Professor Matti Kokkala, Senior Advisor, Smart Cities VTT Technical Reserach of Finland Ltd

Keynote on Tuesday May 31 at 10.00

Prof. Matti Kokkala currently holds the position of Senior Advisor, Smart Cities at the office of the CTO of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. He has been at VTT since 1981 in different roles, e.g. as a Research Professor of Fire Technology (1986-2000), Research Manager of Structural Engineering and Building Services (2001-2005), and as Vice President, Strategic Research, Services and the Built Environment (2006-2013). In the latter role he was in charge of the research portfolio on several key areas of research relevant to smart cities, i.e. building & construction, traffic and transport, safety & security, and services.

Matti has received the degree of Doctor of Technology in 1982 from Helsinki University of Technology and Executive MBA in 2003 from Helsinki School of Economics. Matti’s research career began in 1975 at the Low Temperature Laboratory of Helsinki University of Technology (now Aalto University) with studies on application of superconducting magnets. In 1981 he began his career in fire research at VTT until turning into a full-time management role in 2001.

Throughout his career Matti has been involved in international activities. He has worked as a visiting scientist in the USA (Center for Fire Research of NBS, now NIST) and in Japan (Fire Research Institute). He has also worked in numerous Nordic and European research projects. He has also been active in both national and international research organizations, e.g. as Member of the High Level Group of European Construction Technology Platform (2007-2009) and Member of the Board of Fulbright Center Finland (2010- ; Chairman 2014 - ). Within CIB he has been Coordinator of W14 Fire (1992 – 2001) and Member of the Board and Chairman of the Programme Committee (2007 – 2010).

Wednesday June 1

"Sustainable building - solutions for good life and better business"

Kimmo Tiilikainen

Keynote on Wednesday June 1 at  9.00

Minister of Agriculture and the Environment (Finnish Government)
Master of Science (Agriculture and Forestry), Member of Parliament

Kimmo Tiilikainen has been the Minister of Agriculture and the Environment of Finland since May 2015. He has been a member of Finnish parliament since 2003, and also a former Minister of the Environment from 2007 to 2008. Tiilikainen graduated in 1991 from the University of Joensuu as a Master of Science in Agriculture and Forestry. He is also an organic farmer and forester.

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"Perspectives on Construction in Developing Countries"

Professor George Ofori Professor at National University of Singapore

Keynote on Wednesday June 1 at 9.45

George Ofori, Ph.D., D.Sc. is a Professor at the National University. His main area of research is construction industry development, focusing on developing countries. He was the founding co-ordinator of CIB W107 on Construction in Developing Countries. He is the Deputy Chairman of the International Board of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST).

Thursday June 2

”Case Skanska: Building for a Better Society – The Role of a Global Construction Company”

Lic.Sc. (Tech.) Tuomas Särkilahti
CEO of Skanska Oy, Finland

Keynote on Thursday June 2 at 9.00

Lic. Sc. (Tech.) Tuomas Särkilahti is the CEO of Skanska Oy, the Finnish branch of the global construction and project development company Skanska AB. Currently, he also holds the position of Chairman of the Board of RIL, the Finnish Association of Civil Engineers. Särkilahti has been working for Skanska in various positions for 20 years.

The presentation of Mr. Särkilahti will concentrate on the thesis that large construction and development companies are an integral part of the societies and communities they operate in, and they should have a proactive role in their development. They should not focus purely on doing business, but instead, on improving these communities. Companies such as Skanska have a lot of expertise related to the question of how urbanization as a trend affects our societies – expertise they can bring in to the cooperation with cities, municipalities and other parties.

The development of traffic networks, services and housing should be developed together as entities, not separately. This is a key notion in the management of urbanization. In the design and implementation of complex urban hubs and networks, large construction and development companies can make important contributions. A further aspect of building for a better society and acting upon sustainability goals the companies have set for themselves is to implement construction and development projects as efficiently as possible, meaning that the funds invested in these projects are used in the best interest of the communities as a whole. Therefore, the efficiency and productivity of the processes of these companies is of central importance. Skanska has plenty of good experience of improving productivity in construction through various practical applications of for example digital and smart solutions.




"First Steps Towards Achieving Built Environments for Life"

Emeritus Professor Peter Barrett
University of Salford

Keynote on Thursday June 2 at 9.45

Professor Barrett is Emeritus Professor of Management in Property and Construction at Salford University in the UK. Peter is a past President of the UN-established International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB). He was for many years a member of the High Level Group of the European Construction Technology Platform and its UK equivalent. He is an international advisor to the World Bank, the OECD, the US Green Building Council, the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture and the American Institute of Architects.

Peter has produced over one hundred and seventy single volume publications, refereed papers and reports, and has made over one hundred and ten presentations in around sixteen countries. Professor Barrett has undertaken a wide range of research. He is currently focusing on the theme of Senses, Brain and Spaces with a particular interest in the area of primary school design and achieving optimal learning spaces. The findings of this work have, for the first time, isolated a significant  influence of “Clever Classrooms” on variations in pupils’ learning.

Friday June 3


"Construction in a changing world"

Dr.Ir.  Wim Bakens, CIB Secretary General

Keynote on Friday June 3 at 13.15

This presentation focuses on major developments in the world and how these impact upon Construction in general and on Construction Research in particular and on how this is creating a new context for CIB.

Dr. Ir. Wim Bakens is CIB Secretary General since 1994. Before that he worked in the Research Department of the Dutch Ministry of Housing and as researcher / management consultant in Construction. Before becoming Secretary General he served CIB as Coordinator of a Commission that focused on Future Studies in Construction.


"The role and impact of Built Environment Professionals in today’s society"

Ms Helena Soimakallio

Managing Director and CEO
M. Sc. (Civil Engineering)
Finnish Association of Civil Engineers RIL and RIL-Foundation
2016 WBC Conference Organizing Committee Chair

Keynote on Friday June 3 at 14.15

Ms. Helena Soimakallio is the Managing Director and CEO of RIL, the Finnish Association of Civil Engineers and RIL-Foundation. Currently she also holds the position of Chairman of the Board of FISE, the Qualification Body of Professionals in Building, HVAC and Real Estate Sector in Finland. Before joining RIL ten years ago, Ms. Soimakallio worked in energy industry in various professional and executive positions for 15 years.

Soimakallio has served as a member of the board or as a national delegate in in numerous national and international organizations and professional committees. She has been awarded with several badges of merit by professional institutions, including national ga Prize by The Building Information Foundation RTS.

The presentation of Ms. Soimakallio will concentrate on the role and impact of Built Environment Professionals today’s society. Built Environment play a hugely important part in society and professionals working for the construction industry shape our world. But is the voice of engineers and researchers really heard by the customers and decision makers? This keynote explores the means to inspire and to influence the stakeholders and public alike.