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New Construction Technology Centre in Ireland

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New Construction Technology Centre in Ireland

New Construction Technology Centre in Ireland
July 25
10:36 2022
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The Irish Government has announced funding of €5 million, over 5 years, for the establishment of a Construction Technology Centre to accelerate research and innovation within the construction and built environment sector. The Construction Technology Centre will be hosted by NUI Galway and the consortium includes Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, and University College Cork working with the Irish Green Building Council.

Enterprise Ireland worked with Ernst & Young to develop the specification for the Construction Technology Centre by identifying the construction sector’s current, emerging, and future innovation and technology needs through detailed engagement with firms, stakeholders, and national and international experts. In line with the Government’s Housing for All strategy, the new Centre will have a particular focus on advancing innovation and productivity in residential construction.

A team of researchers from across the Construction Technology Centre consortium, with expertise in the main areas of digital adoption, modern methods of construction and sustainability will be organised under five pillars to address the urgent areas of Productivity, Affordability & Cost; Quality and Safety; Sustainability; Skills and Training; and Collaboration.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar said: “The Government is investing billions – substantially above the EU average – in the future, building new homes, roads, public transport, schools, hospitals and other vital infrastructure. This new Construction Technology Centre will make sure we are at the cutting edge of new developments in the sector, making sure Irish companies and the taxpayer are getting the best value for money, while building this important infrastructure in the most modern and efficient way possible.

“We’re making sure that a diverse range of academics, skilled craft workers, industry experts and thought leaders feed into the work of the Centre, so that when businesses come for advice, they get accurate, up to date information that is informed by a broad range of expertise across the sector.”

Enterprise Ireland’s CEO, Leo Clancy said: “The Construction Technology Centre will leverage the best combination of skills, equipment and know-how in the Irish research system. Through innovation, the Centre will help to increase the productivity, sustainability and export potential of the construction sector, while enabling reduced costs and build times for Ireland’s housing and infrastructural requirements.”

President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “NUI Galway has made significant strides in terms of sustainability, one of our core values. It is a testament to our dedication in this area that we will host the country’s Construction Technology Centre and bring all of our talent, knowledge and expertise, and that of the higher education sector, to the fore in driving sustainability, innovation and technology transformation in the built environment sector.”

Andrew Brownlee, Chief Executive Officer at SOLAS, said: “The Construction Technology Centre is a welcome and necessary addition to the ecosystem to futureproof the Irish construction and housing sectors.  SOLAS is working in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and our own parent department to increase the level of collaboration, capability and capacity building. We are looking forward to integrating the activities of the newly announced Housing for All Demonstration Park, which is being established at Laois & Offaly Education and Training Board’s Mount Lucas Facility, with the industry-led research programme of the Construction Technology Centre and the digitalisation of the sector through the Build Digital Project.”

Tom Parlon, Director General of CIF, said: “We welcome the establishment of the Construction Technology Centre, which heralds the beginning of a new collaborative relationship between the industry, the innovation agency of Enterprise Ireland and advanced research capabilities in the third level sector. We look forward to working with the CTC in identifying solutions to address the key productivity challenges the sector has been facing.”

Under Housing for All, the Government has expanded the remit of Enterprise Ireland to work with the domestic housebuilding sector for the first time. As part of its Built to Innovate programme the Agency is focused on driving productivity and innovation in housebuilding, including increased use of Modern Methods of Construction, through lean and digital grants and funding for research and innovation projects. EI also works closely with the Construction Sector Group on innovation and digital adoption in the industry.

The Construction Technology Centre, together with other Government initiatives such as the Build Digital Project, the recently announced Demonstration Park which will be developed at Mount Lucas, County Offaly, and Enterprise Ireland’s Built to Innovate programme, will ensure a more competitive, sustainable and digitally enhanced construction sector.

Irish Construction Sector

  • The Irish construction sector is a major driver of economic activity. It provides the social, economic, and productive infrastructure required to sustain economic growth and competitiveness and attract foreign direct investment.
  • The sector employs 159,300, 6.4% of total employed in the economy and represents 6.1% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and (11.2% of Gross National Income (GNI).
  • Enterprise Ireland’s High-Tech Construction and Housing team works with a portfolio of 450 client companies that achieved exports of €2.89bn in 2021, up 24% on the previous year.
  • Enterprise Ireland’s Agency Mandate has been expanded to allow a suite of existing research, innovation, lean, digitalisation and green offers to be available to domestic residential construction sector. This ‘Built To Innovate’ campaign was launched on March 21st 2022.
  • Despite having some high performing companies, the construction industry overall has major challenges including fragmentation, boom-bust cycles and comparatively low productivity compared to other sectors and other countries.
  • Working with the Government’s Construction Sector Group, and supporting the implementation of Housing for All, Enterprise Ireland is leading the drive for productivity and innovation through the establishment of the Construction Technology Centre which will sit alongside a Build Digital Centre (est. 2021), the forthcoming Demonstration Park at Mount Lucas, and other related initiatives.
  • The Technology Centre Programme is a joint Enterprise Ireland/IDA initiative which has been in operation for over 12 years and has contributed to the success of many Irish businesses in key sectors.
  • 8 Technology Centres currently employ 320 researchers working collaboratively with almost 280 Member companies, 570 associate member companies as well as over 2,600 companies that regularly engage with the Centres on training, networking, and knowledge transfer activities.
  • The establishment of a Construction Technology Centre to support the technology transformation of the entire construction and built environment sector will build on the successful experience of EI/IDA supported Technology Centres and their proven ability to solve sector wide technology and innovation challenges and deliver timely economic impact.

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