Often an unsung hero of our nation, the Irish construction industry has helped re-shape our economy as much as any industry. The construction sector plays a vital role in attracting FDI into the country through building strategic infrastructure and specialised buildings. The proof is in the pudding in that almost all of the leading global tech companies are located here.
However, we are also undergoing a well-publicised housing and healthcare facility shortage. As we now look to the post-Covid future, and we aim to continue our FDI projects and solve the housing supply shortage, it is imperative that we gradually re-open the sector in the immediate future in order to reboot our economy.
Warning - Site under Construction
Ireland has won international praise for our bid to halt the march of the coronavirus. However, a strong lead is only as good as its finish. We therefore cannot take our eye of the ball once we return to "normal". Whilst all industries will now face a "new normal", this may not be as difficult a switch for the typical construction site.
Unlike your typical commercial office, for example, construction is one of the few sectors that has full-time health and safety teams on site every day. The project managers of each site are also trained in health and safety management and will be capable of implementing any such Covid-19 instructions. Gloves and goggles are part of the uniform. The Construction Industry Federation has also introduced a stringent and meticulous Standard Operating Procedure (https://cif.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/CIF-Covid-19-Operating-Procedure-Report.pdf) which will dictate how a construction site is to be operated in the short term. Every site is to have a Covid-19 inspector appointed. The level of detail is second-to-none and there are even guidelines for how best to operate the vehicles on each site.
The construction sector may be robust but it is going to need to evolve like any other. Time lines will need to be extended. Cost of delivery of projects may increase. Work-by-machine and automation will be implemented as a matter of priority. However, it is most likely we will need to live alongside the virus for some time. If we can ensure that the right protective measures are in place then the construction sector should be able to gradually reopen. Projects nearing completion and infrastructural works should be prioritised. We look to countries like Denmark who re-opened construction sites in a controlled and gradual manner and are experiencing positive results.
As always, if we can be of any assistance and can provide any advice to you or your company in any facet of the Real Estate or Construction Industry, we have experts in these areas that would be delighted to talk to you.
Construction is also deeply linked to the domestic economy and will spin off activity to suppliers and service providers.