The construction industry has never been as important, given its central role in delivering for a transforming Ireland, a country that needs a modern, vibrant, and sustainable built environment that will serve the population into the future; a built environment that is befitting of one of the strongest economies in Europe.
New housing developments, advanced production facilities for the life sciences sector, sophisticated technology centres and improvements to our evolving transport network are connecting people like never before, creating jobs, supporting investment, and building communities.
We have the National Development Plan, the National Planning Framework, Housing for All and the Climate Action Plan to work towards. It is up to us to deliver the vital infrastructure underpinning these plans, which will assist Ireland in providing a built environment that meets the needs of its additional one million citizens by 2040.
Our role as industry experts is to ensure that the Government maintains momentum behind essential construction projects to serve the public good.
While our members are working hard to supply much-needed homes and infrastructure, it is important that critical issues such as material costs, zoning, planning and viability, which are impeding delivery, are tackled and investment is made.
This is where the crucial expertise of our committees and branches comes into play. We are fortunate to have leadership from the top industry experts in the country on our various boards, who fly the flag for our sector.
I want to commend all who took part in these initiatives in 2022 for your efforts and impact. You forge the path for us all and this cannot be underestimated.
In 2022 CIF committees worked closely on reform of the Public Works Contract, a key pillar of our strategy, and engaged with the Government to address cost recovery mechanisms arising from the impact of hyperinflation on the industry, and they continue to do so.
The Irish Home Builders’ Association continued its established housing forum with the Minister for Housing. The platform allowed valuable meetings in relation to housing and planning matters and critical delivery challenges.
Sustainability and green procurement have become a central issue and we launched a green procurement training programme in partnership with Davy Horizons and CPSkillnet, with a sold-out attendance.
Our work to increase standards and safety in the industry contributed with the launch of a national scaffolding apprenticeship in July by Minister Simon Harris in a new purpose-built centre in Mount Lucas.
The theme of safety resounded throughout October as construction companies all over Ireland focused their thinking and training on redoubling efforts to ensure a safe working environment. There was a small increase in workplace accidents in 2020, and we are encouraging companies to refocus on ‘nuts and bolts’ safety measures post pandemic.
The Construction 4.0 Committee continued to drive the digital agenda throughout the year on issues related to BIM (Building Information Modelling, MMC (Modern Methods of Construction) and RDI (Research, Development & Innovation).
Our regional branches across Ireland demonstrated the best of regional development, while identifying and engaging with stakeholders on the barriers impacting the delivery of critical regional infrastructure.
The Government must strive for a balanced approach to regional infrastructure development to attract investment and employment into regional centres, which offer much potential growth to the economy.
Indeed, one of our strongest leaders hailed from our Southern Region. Dr Mirette Hanley Corboy, our first and only female President, sadly passed away recently at the great age of 92.
Our condolences go to her family and friends on the loss of this leading light in the sector, who blazed a trail for women in construction and the value of diversity at all levels.
As we approach the end of 2022, I believe that the construction sector in Ireland can have a bright outlook next year. have an unwavering willingness and commitment to progress and push forward.
With this shared determination, I have no doubt that the sector can continue to grow, to invest in people and to adopt productive and efficient technologies, as we deliver on critical aspects of the economy and society.