CIF Director of Specialist Contracting Sean Downey: How to explore emerging construction opportunities through digitisation

by | Jul 6, 2023

The construction industry in Ireland is undergoing a significant transformation, with diversification and innovation emerging as key drivers of success.

Traditional concentration on large commercial office developments is giving way to a more diversified market approach. This shift not only opens doors to new opportunities but also addresses the challenges posed by supply chain constraints that have put pressure on margins.

The industry has witnessed a fundamental change in management style and operational delivery methods over the past four years, reflecting the need to adapt to a new landscape.

Sophisticated operations have been faced with formidable challenges in sourcing materials, meeting labour demands, and managing logistics.

To overcome these obstacles, I believe we will see the strongest companies adopting a horizontal approach, exploring emerging opportunities, and venturing into markets they may not have traditionally been involved in.

Historically, companies tended to avoid certain regions or sectors, deeming them risky or unfamiliar. However, the extensive and sophisticated pipeline of work, coupled with the presence of different funding models, has brought more clarity and certainty to projects.

When pre-funded projects demonstrate confidence in moving forward, we can expect to see a greater number of companies pursuing such opportunities.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has further accelerated this shift in perspective. Companies have been compelled to explore areas where they may not have had done previously.

I believe what we will see across the industry is traditional contractors adopting new methods of deploying their resources as they recognise the need to try and find a better way of using the limited resources they have access to, embracing new methods to drive efficiency and productivity.

This growing appetite for innovation is reshaping the industry’s landscape, with digitalisation taking centre stage. Digicon 2023 showcased the industry’s dedication to digitalisation, supported by a robust research ecosystem.

The move towards off-site Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) has gained significant momentum. By harnessing technological advancements and collaborating with researchers, construction companies can unlock new efficiencies, streamline processes and enhance project outcomes.

The Irish construction industry is undergoing a transformative period marked by diversification and innovation. In order to thrive in this evolving landscape, companies are likely to embrace a broader market approach, seeking emerging opportunities in different sectors and regions.

As leaders in the construction sector, it will be essential for companies to embrace this change, foster innovation and seize emerging opportunities.

By doing so, we can position ourselves at the forefront of the industry, charting a successful path towards a future defined by diversity, resilience and progress.

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