VIRTUAL events such as peer-to-peer online link-ups may have helped the membership of Ireland's largest construction, land and property professional body the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCSI) keep the show on the road during Covid-19, but at least almost 100 of them were able to swap Teams and Zoom cameras for a welcome, face-to-face annual dinner last week.
After a pandemic-induced hiatus last year, a select number of the 5,000-member strong SCSI regrouped for a Black Tie social event, observing social distancing guidelines: guest speaker the inspirational Joanne O'Riordan, sports journalist, disability campaigner and graduate in criminology quipped that now that she has a brother working in the Department of Housing her invite on the night might be fortuitous.
The event, cancelled last year due to the Coronavirus, was at Cork's Maryborough House Hotel and came just days before new COVID-19 hospitality and work-from-home precautions restrictions came into force and, not unexpectedly, coping with Covid in the construction and property sectors were topics on the night.
SCSI region chair Peter McCarthy said that SCSI-devised virtual peer-to-peer and CPD events taking place on a fortnightly basis of necessity replaced networking and face-to-face chats members would typically have after CPD or other social events. “When many members were working from home, and possibly feeling isolated, these peer-to-peer events offered members the opportunity to remain connected,” he observed, and said they would continue post-Covid across all SCSI regions.
SCSI President TJ Cronin noted that in his contact with members, online events were supplemented by walk-and-talks, or from parked cars, and said despite hurdles there had been a big step-up online and digital connections, marketing, and across the SCSI's 2024 Roadmap of Connecting, Representing, Influencing and Supporting.
An agent with Irish & European in Cork, Mr Cronin added that vital contacts were maintained with the Department of Housing and Minister Darragh O'Brien “to steer the course for sites to re-open and viewings to re-commence,” as lockdowns lifted and said “through these initiatives we are ensuring a pipeline of new professionals and that our professional expertise is being tapped into by the Government before they shape policies.”