The Society has welcomed the publication of the Forfás report on the future of the construction sector and called for a joined-up approach between all stakeholders to ensure its effective implementation.

The Society said that the report, entitled ‘Ireland’s Construction Sector: Outlook and Strategic Plan to 2015’, represented a very important step forward in terms of restoring a sustainable level of output for the industry with a target of 12% of GNP by 2015. The report, to which the Society and other industry stakeholders contributed, highlights a range of recommendations, including:

  • providing office solutions to meet anticipated foreign direct investment (FDI);
  • ensuring the completion of the Public Capital Programme;
  • securing alternative sources of finance for construction projects;
  • progressing reform in public procurement processes;
  • reducing local authority development levies to remain internationally competitive for investment;
  • driving further internationalisation via State agencies; and,
  • providing training to meet skills gaps.

Society President Micheál O’Connor said: “The Forfás report represents an opportunity to restore confidence and competitiveness in an industry that is currently about half the size it should be for an economy the size of Ireland. We now need to see some action on the implementation of these recommendations, including the completion of the Public Capital Programme and the securing of alternative sources of finance to fund infrastructure and building projects to ensure that we can meet the needs of multinationals seeking to locate in Ireland in order to create more jobs”.

The Society also said that the proposed introduction of a Construction Enterprise Clearing House (CECH) would promote greater transparency and collaboration between Government departments and industry representatives.

O’Connor also said that opportunities exist internationally for the skilled Irish construction workforce. “In recent years, Irish specialist construction contractors have been very successful in designing and building manufacturing facilities, distribution networks and data centres for multinational pharmaceutical and technology companies and we welcome a focus on identifying opportunities to export these skill sets abroad.

“We would call on Government and other industry stakeholders to work together to ensure that these recommendations are implemented without delay,” he concluded.