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NetWorks enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

PEOPLE WHO KNOW PEOPLE THAT HELP PEOPLE

www.bita.ie • Edition 1 • 2018

FOR THE LOVE OF... HOW TO UP YOUR BUSINESS GAME

ALWAYS SATISFIED WITH THE BEST IRISH DESIGNER PAUL COSTELLOE ON STAYING AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION

PEOPLE WHO KNOW PEOPLE THAT HELP PEOPLE

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WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION

STILL IRISH AND NATURALLY BRITISH

TRAFFORD COUNCIL CEO

Closing the gender gap in construction

Angela Brady OBE on dual nationality

The rise of the North West as a global investment hub


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Helping you build a successful business Evans Mockler are a long established and dynamic firm of Chartered Certified Accountants and Registered Auditors. We specialise in both the construction industry and the property sector. We are business and tax advisors and recognise that our clients require more than just annual compliance. We understand the many challenges that businesses face, particularly within the construction instruction. We work closely with our clients to ensure that they overcome these challenges and achieve their goals. Kindly contact us on 020 8449 9632 if you would like to discuss our range of services and to find out how Evans Mockler can help you build your business.


TEAM

Editor Diane Birch

Features Editor Brian O'Connell

Sub Editor Laura Watkins

Sales, Events and Marketing T +44 (0) 7587 035740 E laura@bita.ie

Design and Production E jules@stimula.co.uk

Printer Urban Design & Print Ltd

@BITAIntl @BITAIntl @BITA @BITAIntl

Published by BITA Ltd HEAD OFFICE: The Hive Enterprise Centre, The Old Central Library, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6EX www.bita.ie T +44 (0) 7587 035740 E laura@bita.ie IRISH OFFICE: Paul Caplis E paulc@bita.ie

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BITA Ltd. All rights reserved

Terms and conditions NetWorks is published by BITA Ltd. Its entire content is protected by copyright 2018 and all its rights reserved. Reproduction without prior permission is forbidden. Every care has been taken in compiling the content of the magazine, but the publisher assumes no responsibility in the effect arising therefrom. Readers are advised to seek profesional advice before acting on any information which is contained in the magazine. Neither BITA Ltd or NetWorks accept any liability for views expressed, pictures used or claims used by advertisers.

WELCOME Communication has been a watchword for me this year because it matters whether we get it right or wrong. It has an inestimable impact on the world and is an essential part of building meaningful relationships between businesses and nations. I founded the British and Irish Trading Alliance to share the experiences and insights I had gained moving between industries across Britain and Ireland. I wanted BITA to be a platform for people to share and form good practice. I believe this is something we have achieved and we continue to develop. We all need to keep up with the modern world but what we perceive as the benefits of modern communication can sometimes hinder progress. Ask yourself, for example, how frequently you still meet face to face - or even call - the people with whom you do business. At what point did these relationships become simply tweets and emails? Of course, not everything has to be done in person or even on the phone, but we do need to ensure that our relationships aren’t entirely reduced to words on a screen. Face to face communication is after all the foundation of good business. That is why we are building a community at BITA based on friendships, transparency and a personal touch. Those are the qualities which make our members different. I am proud of what we have built at BITA: a welcoming and powerful community of like-minded companies working together and sharing in each other’s successes. It is something I dreamed of when I founded BITA and it is humbling and exciting to see it become a reality. I hope you enjoy reading this magazine and getting to know us and our members. We are building a strong business community with real impact across two great nations and we invite you to get involved.

PAUL WHITNELL President enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

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CONTENTS 22

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PEOPLE WHO KNOW PEOPLE THAT HELP PEOPLE

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MESSAGE FROM AMBASSADOR ADRIAN O'NEILL

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STILL IRISH AND NATURALLY BRITISH

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THE CHANGING SPACE IN WHICH WE LIVE

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INTERVIEW WITH JACQUELINE O'DONOVAN

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IRISH STUDIES

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THE TRUE VALUE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES

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A COMPETITIVE BUSINESS DESTINATION IN THE NORTHWEST

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STAYING OPEN FOR BUSINESS

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THE FUTURE OF FOREX

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REASONS TO BE OPTIMISTIC?

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HOPING FOR THE BEST OF BREXIT

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RACING TO BE THE BEST

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WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION

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THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO JOIN BITA

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INTERVIEW WITH IRISH DESIGNER PAUL COSTELLOE

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FOR THE LOVE OF...

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HOW BITA HELPED MY BUSINESS

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SWING AND A HIT

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LIGHTHOUSE CLUB

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THE CRISIS OF MODERN COMMUNICATION


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THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT MARKETING

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BITA X - WELCOMES A TIDE OF NEW PROFESSIONALS

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HELPING OUR MEMBERS THRIVE

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DEALING WITH THE POLITICS OF BREXIT

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BITA DUBLIN

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IRELAND’S HOUSING CRISIS

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BUCKING THE TREND

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PAVING THE WAY FOR THE FUTURE

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DOES YOUR BUSINESS STAND OUT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS

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MAKE CONSTRUCTION A PRIORITY

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MIND THE SKILLS GAP

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MURPHY SURVEYS

PLATINUM SPONSORS

THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS


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I AMBASSADOR’S MESSAGE

Adrian O’Neill

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am honoured to join my team of colleagues in the Irish Embassy in London and take up my appointment as Ambassador of Ireland to the United Kingdom, our near neighbour and close friend. In my former role as Secretary General to the President of Ireland, I had the privilege of experiencing the State Visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland in 2011 and the return State Visit of President Higgins to Britain in 2014. The moving words and inspiring events associated with both visits embodied a transformed relationship of mutual respect and friendship. Irish connections in Britain are deep and diverse. That diversity is represented in the flourishing economic and business relationship between our two countries, in the vibrancy of our cultural and sporting links and rich interaction of our artists and musicians; in the respectful commemoration of significant moments in our intertwined history; and through the lives of many citizens and descendants of Ireland for whom Britain is home. In undertaking my new role, I am deeply conscious of the generations of Irish people, past and present, who have contributed so much to life here in Britain and to Ireland. There is much to celebrate and build upon but I also acknowledge the present challenges that must be tackled. These include the impact on Ireland - and on the Irish Community in Britain - of the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the continued need to nurture the hard won peace in Northern Ireland. The Government is not under any illusions about the complexities that arise from the outcome of the UK

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MESSAGE FROM AMBASSADOR

referendum and has already taken important steps to prepare for the economic fallout from Brexit. Measures include recent Government Budgets, its Action Plans for Jobs and the recently published Trade and Investment Strategy to prepare companies for the challenges to come. However, the Irish Government believes more needs to be done. A new ambitious 10-year Capital Plan is well advanced; our Enterprise 2025 policy strategy is being revised and updated; and the European Investment Bank is being encouraged to increase its investment in the Irish economy. Working under the direction of our Government, I and my colleagues in the Embassy and in the Enterprise Agencies will be working hard to address the challenges posed by Brexit and to ensure the very best outcome for Ireland and the Irish in Britain. The British and Irish Trading Alliance (BITA) will be an important ally in supporting the collective efforts of Team Ireland in the coming years. BITA’s motto is “people who know people that help people”. Encouraging people to develop networks will be essential to Irish Government efforts to promote and sustain jobs at home and to support Irish firms in competitive markets abroad. I warmly welcome your efforts to date and would encourage you to build on them in the coming years. I know BITA is keen to grow and make a real difference. Building contacts and networks through your chapters in Dublin, London and Liverpool - combined with your most recent chapter targeted at young entrepreneurs – will promote regional and sectoral connectivity in both Ireland and the UK. By helping future generations of business people you ensure that their initial steps become a successful journey. Your support ensures that Irish business breaking into the British market finds friends and mentors who will guide them through the early challenges and grow and develop new market opportunities. I look forward to the Embassy playing its part in this vital work by doing whatever we can to support the promotion and creation of new sustainable business. Our enterprise agencies Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Science Foundation Ireland, Bord Bía and the Local Enterprise Offices will also be there to help. However, to be sustainable, it is critical that business continues to build networks such as BITA - business knows best what business needs. Finally, let me take this opportunity to wish BITA every success in the future. I look forward to reading about your initiatives and your progress. Go n-éirí go geal libh I gcónaí.

I warmly welcome BITA’s efforts to promote and sustain jobs at home and abroad


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I NATIONALITY

Still Irish

AND NATURALLY BRITISH Irish architect Angela Brady OBE on dual nationality.

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y first trip to London was as a student with my pal Gina. We found a tiny bedsit and worked in a bar in Victoria where businessmen came in at lunchtime and rail workers hung about in the evening. It was the height of the troubles in Northern Ireland and many of the English were hostile once they heard our accent. Like many DIT architectural graduates in the 1980’s, there was no work in Ireland and 90% of my class emigrated. After graduation, when I returned to London to see if I could get work as an architect, I had three job offers within a week. I married an Englishman, we set up our own practice and my London return visit turned into ten years and then thirty. I decided to mark the occasion. It was the time of the state visit to Ireland by HRH the Queen and the return visit by President Michael D. Higgins. I felt proud to be Irish and thought that I should do something about direct integration myself and become a dual national. British nationality allows you to retain any other nationality you may already hold so I wouldn’t be losing my Irish nationality, I would be adding another one to it. I sent off my passport application and fee only to have it sent directly back. Spouses no longer received automatic dual nationality. I had to sit the 45 minute “Life in the UK” test in a dark, hot office with 20 other people; no bags, mobiles or pencils and only a computer in front of you in your booth. You have to answer 24 multiple choice questions. I’d advise memorising battle dates, learning Britain’s royal lineage and knowing all about current and historic political figures. To prepare there is a 180 page handbook for new residents for a tenner; I recommend spending three hours reading it. The pass mark was a score of 75% and your results – pass or fail – are out 10 minutes later. The official questions are not published anywhere and I am not allowed divulge them but they could have been along the lines of:

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Q: Was Margret Thatcher… A) An internationally renowned British handbag designer? B) A children’s fairytale writer? C) The first woman on the moon from UK? D) The first woman British Prime Minister? Following my 90% pass result (with two errors on the date of the Scottish national day and on Scottish poets) I proceeded to my formal interview. I told the interviewer one reason I wanted British citizenship was that I had recently been awarded an OBE and preferred to collect it from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace rather than at the local Hackney Town Hall from whoever was on duty. I passed the interview and made an appointment to attend the citizenship ceremony. I swore my oath to the Queen and sang the British national anthem to music played from a tape recorder - the words were provided. It was a moving moment for me. After 30 years in London I felt proud to have dual nationality at last but I still had to wait for formal confirmation. Meanwhile the June Brexit referendum happened and with much uncertainty for Irish and other EU immigrants in Britain and for the British in other EU countries. I guess I now have a safety net in case the Brexit negotiations don’t go so well or free movement hits a blockage. My English husband of course cannot get an Irish passport that easily either. But at least he doesn’t have to sit a test, he just has to live there for three years and he can then be considered. My UK visa and immigration ‘Message from the Home Secretary Theresa May’ arrived. It read “Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to welcome you on behalf of herself, the British Government and your fellow citizens into our national community. I hope that in the years to come you will look back with pride on your decision to become a British Citizen”. So far I have done so but now I have a double conscience to think about.


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ARCHITECTURE

THE CHANGING SPACE IN WHICH WE LIVE Architecture and design is all around us says BITA member Pierre Saunal, Director of Create Design+Architecture.

planning system blocks the vision. That’s why planning is a challenge which has to be addressed. Open space is just as important as buildings and both impact on our lives. In a built environment both diversity and balance are key to our wellbeing. Too much of the same material, style or height and we feel oppressed; too much diversity and we feel lost. Change is maybe the aspect of our environment with which we struggle most. Usually we are most comfortable with a combination of the old and the new because the contrast helps us accept the change. Change is in a city’s DNA. It can be good and it can be bad but change is never a backward step because time keeps moving forward with or without us. We have to embrace and control change; we can’t resist positive change but good architecture can help us address it.

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et’s talk about the loo. Bathrooms seem quite simple but are in fact a complex combination of designs. All architects have designed toilets at some point in their careers. A typical bathroom is most commonly a cube with a toilet and a sink but who would want to use a bathroom without ventilation, electricity, plumbing or a toilet paper dispenser unreachable from the seat? All these components have to be designed together and - if they work well - become a harmonious whole. It is just the same for your school, house, office, pub, hospital or city. It’s all architecture, it’s just different in scale. We are surrounded by architecture. We live in space and time but if we are preoccupied by time, the importance of the space in which we live tends to go unnoticed. It is no different to the bathroom we discussed, it’s just a bit more complex. Architecture is a combination of skills that architects use to deliver and harmonise the space in which we live. However architects don’t work on their own; they are there to help their client make his or her vision a reality by bringing together people, politics and market expectations. For example the provision of new housing always requires innovative solutions from people (about the way we live), the market (about the way we deliver) and politics (about the way we plan). People supply the demand and the market supplies the investors but all too often the

The space in which we live tends to go unnoticed

Above: Kingswood Station Approach, Surrey Left: Guildford College, Surrey

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I PROFILE

JACQUELINE O’DONOVAN Jacqueline O'Donovan is managing director of O'Donovan Waste Disposal, one of London’s most successful, independent waste management companies employing 160 staff and running a fleet of 90 HGV’s. The multi award-winning company is going from strength to strength. Here we have a chat with Jacqui about how it all began and where it is heading… Did you always think you would be successful? No, I did not, because I was not academic. I left school with O-levels in maths, art, and child development, and thought that I would be a childminder. My father’s sudden death at 51 left us in shock and turmoil following which, I looked after my mother for a while. As time passed, I started to spend the odd day in the office, which later became 6 days a week. I had to learn as I went along, taking night courses on road haulage and NVQ’s in waste management. What is the secret of your success? It is keeping our feet firmly on the ground and remembering that six of us lived in a one-bedroom flat in Kilburn until I was five years old. We have all really pulled together from the time of my father’s death to date. We trust each other implicitly. My brother Michael is CEO. He purchases the assets, looks after the demolition arm of the company and runs the fleet. Anthony and Caroline are operations directors. My sister is in charge of the skip hire department which has our biggest turnover, and Anthony oversees our depots and their operations. What was your best preparation for business? It was being exposed to my father’s business at a young age. I socialised with the workers, I listened to their conversations, observed how my father operated, and saw the paperwork. When I actually had to go in and get down to it, I was familiar with the surroundings. My Dad used to give me pocket money for cleaning his office. What is your basic business philosophy? I consider the staff as our biggest asset, not the depots or the vehicles. We have a very low staff turnover, and many have been with us for years. I am heavily involved with training. Having left school myself with few qualifications I have always wanted to help others excel.

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Our Logistics supervisor, who came from the Army and joined us over 20 years ago as an HGV driver, has taken numerous courses to expand his knowledge of the field and the industry. An Albanian worker with very little English and no qualifications joined us 15 years ago. He is now a waste supervisor. Do you see yourself retiring at some stage? Not a chance! I am just not the type of person who lunches or enjoys shopping. The business is my life and my passion. What are you looking forward to? The past decade has seen a massive change in the waste industry. Ten years ago, recycling wasn’t on the radar for construction projects, but slowly this has completely changed. Over the next few years, I want the business to continue to grow and diversify in order to provide waste management and recycling services to a wider range of businesses, develop our waste transfer facilities to take different types of waste and ultimately look at developing an energy from waste plant. While the winds of change have helped us to shape O’Donovan Waste Disposal, it has been through sheer hard work, commitment, and passion, going above and beyond industry standards that have really got the business to where it is today. Despite the fact that, as a 17-yearold girl, I would never have imagined running a waste management business, I absolutely love what I do and am hugely grateful for the support I’ve had from my family and our employees to achieve the success we have had to date. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing to take the business in new directions and bringing in the next generation to carry on the O’Donovan legacy.


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Recycling is our passion Environmental, ethical and social responsibility are at the forefront of everything we do at O’Donovan. We will not only make sure your waste is disposed of in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way possible, we are also committed to using the latest technology in vehicle design making the roads safer for everybody.

DRIVING SUSTAINABILITY - DELIVERING EXCELLENCE

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Get in touch and see how we can help your business be more sustainable.

0800 731 3332 sales@odonovan.co.uk

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I LIVERPOOL

IRISH STUDIES Brian O’Connell on how Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies is changing perceptions.

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he Institute of Irish Studies at the University of Liverpool continues to go from strength to strength with the announcement in September 2017 of the joint patronage of The Prince of Wales and Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins. Welcoming the joint patronage, Institute Director Professor Peter Shirlow, said it showed that the Institute was a site of scholarship, conflict transformation and community outreach. The Institute, which was established in 1988 to contribute to greater understanding between Britain and Ireland, now offers Irish Studies as a module for students from other disciplines. It’s a strategy which has led to a four-fold increase in student numbers in the past two years. Professor Shirlow says that despite the closure of several Irish studies courses across Britain, demand is still growing fast and adds that drawing in students from other disciplines such as law, geography and sociology is taking Irish Studies into non-traditional areas. “The courses have become more comparative, with modules such as conflict in Ireland now placed in a global context of other conflicts in the Middle East and Latin America. It’s about how we escape the causes of conflict.” Seven academic staff offer BA and MA courses and supervise about 30 PhD students. In 2007 the Institute’s teaching and research was recognised by the Irish

government through the creation of an endowed Blair Chair in Irish Studies. The Institute plays a wider role in promoting Irish studies with events in Liverpool and at its London campus in Finsbury Square. It also sponsors a prestigious series of public lectures by dignitaries including President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins and former President Mary Robinson. Professor Shirlow describes the Institute’s cultural role as “a beacon for the Irish community in Liverpool, our events are pivotal to their intellectual and community life.” He says that teaching students who are second or third generation Irish helps them engage with that part of their identity. To mark the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in 2018, the Institute will be producing a new video and hosting a series of lectures and an art exhibition called “Hand of History”.

NORTHWEST

Pam Moore, Chairperson of BITA in Liverpool, says her chapter is still taking small steps but is growing steadily.

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et up a year ago, the BITA chapter in Liverpool is still finding its feet. It has a handful of SME members (representing the haulage, shopfitting and property sectors) and is growing steadily. Chairperson Pam Moore first got involved when she attended a networking event in a Liverpool pub which was hosted by BITA President Paul Whitnell. At the time she was working for a company which helped businesses access grant funding and funding for R+D. “I’d never been involved in networking before but there was something about the ethos and passion of what BITA stood for that really appealed to me.” Pam says Liverpool has a lot of networking groups, particularly Irish organisations, so it’s difficult to

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introduce a new one. However she says BITA is different in that it’s not just Irish but Irish and British. Attendance at events can vary widely depending on the time of the year. “We do have formal events but we can be informal and sociable as well. It’s all about the person. People do business with people and that’s what BITA does really well.” While you don’t have to be a member to attend a BITA event in Liverpool, Pam says that when people turn up they quickly realise that they can get a lot more from an event by becoming a member. “I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy but we are getting there. It’s small steps but the BITA name is getting out there!”


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CONSTRUCTION

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THE TRUE VALUE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES

Clune Construction; traditional values and a dedicated workforce, a course for success.

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ichael Clune has had a lot written about him; Dublin boy made good, degree-less success story, but for those that don’t know his history is definitely worth a recap. He left school at 14 and started work in construction, and arrived in the USA at 28 years old with no money but lots of ideas. He worked hard, made the best of all opportunities, and is now Chairman of a construction company with more than $900 million in construction volume. With his history, Dubliner Michael Clune (as suits his friendly, low-key personality, he prefers Mike), is often lauded as embodying the American Dream. But Mike’s qualities that got him ahead, his integrity, dedication, commitment to quality, and tendency to treat his employees as family, are all testament to his Irish roots and upbringing. The recession that hit hard globally in 2008 greatly affected his company, as it did so many others. But unlike many of his competitors, Clune Construction weathered that particular storm, despite some tough years. It has now emerged from the other side, stronger and even more successful. Mike started working for Jones Lang LaSalle in the early 80s and liked the company so much that he, and his partners, eventually decided to buy a division of it in 1997, and working on its ethos and goals, they started a programme of expansion. Now, 20 years later, the company has managed to increase its volume of the company from $80 million to more than $900 million, an incredible feat even more impressive when seen in the light of the difficulties faced by other construction companies. Mike says that his success is down to his values, those of integrity and quality. In fact, the motto of Clune Construction is ‘Quality and integrity, one square foot at a time,’ a mantra that has consistently put him ahead of the competition. When asked to what he owes his success, he says that it is his employees; ‘I make sure that I treat them like family.’ Quite an achievement when you have a

staff of over 450. To reinforce the feeling of family, Mike regularly takes 6.30am walks through the office; catching up with employees and keeping abreast of the work. ‘My father always rose at 6am, and he didn’t want me to lose this. Early starts are very important.’ It this ethos that has resulted in his incredibly low staff turnover, which means his employees are very dedicated to the company, and keeps hard-won knowledge within the organisation. He greatly believes in staff investment and training, and every employee at the firm has ownership through an employee stock investment plan. When he found out about BITA back in 2016, he understood immediately the impact that we could have on the industry and was very willing to get involved. We are looking forward to working with him in the future as we expand into the USA. Mike Clune’s way of doing things should be considered when deciding on staff development, after all, ‘What if we train them and they leave? What if we don’t and they stay?’ The success of Clune Construction, built by a man with traditional values and a dedicated work force should be a good indication of the correct course.

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Quality and integrity, one square foot at a time www.bita.ie

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I MANCHESTER

A COMPETITIVE BUSINESS DESTINATION IN THE NORTHWEST Theresa Grant, Chief Executive of Trafford Council, says Manchester’s Irish connections have helped it become a global investment hub.

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he Irish workers who first settled in Manchester and the North West were drawn by the region’s growth during the industrial revolution and the demand for labour particularly in the cotton industry. In Manchester they settled in a densely populated area that became known as Little Ireland surrounded by factories that offered poor sanitation and ventilation. By 1834 one fifth of Manchester’s population was of Irish descent. That strong Irish community continues to thrive today. The city’s annual Irish Festival is one of the largest in the UK. The impressive Irish World Heritage Centre at Cheetham Hill – supported by the Irish government and built close to the original site of Little Ireland – is a modern hub that draws Manchester’s Irish community together and highlights the best of Irish culture and history. Irish Government ministers and officials visit the Centre regularly to speak abut Ireland’s involvement in the Brexit negotiations, the importance of ensuring Irish businesses can continue to work and trade in the UK and the protection of Irish residents’ rights. That strong Irish heritage in the Northwest remains secure as Greater Manchester continues to grow as a confident and

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Irish heritage in the Northwest remains secure as Greater Manchester continues to grow as a confident and outwardlooking region 14

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outward-looking region. Rated Europe’s number one city for business competiveness for the past six years, the Financial Times has heralded Manchester as the leading large European city for foreign direct investment strategy. Over the past three decades Greater Manchester as a region has led the way in urban entrepreneurialism, an approach which sees local government working in partnership with local business to increase global competiveness and attract investment. MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment and development agency, attracts new business and promotes Greater Manchester to international markets. MIDAS offers free consultation for location consultants and potential investors and helps new businesses settle in and establish themselves in the city region. From 2010 to 2015 MIDAS helped Greater Manchester attract 349 projects, creating 13,245 jobs and safeguarding 4,625 more. Key sectors that have been identified include Manufacturing and Advanced Engineering, Life Sciences, Financial Professional and Business Services, Creative, Digital and Technology and Energy and Environment. In Manufacturing and Advanced Engineering for example, we have companies Irish World Heritage Centre, Manchester


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SECTION NAME

such as Siemens, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Bouygues Energies & Services and world-leading organisations such as the National Graphene Institute as well as the soon to be opened Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials. In Life Sciences we established Corridor Manchester, an innovation cluster and Enterprise Zone in the university district that contains some of the sector’s leading assets such as the Central Manchester University Hospitals Foundation Trust, Citylabs 1.0 and the Medicines Discovery Catapult. In Salford MediaCityUK, the home of BBC in the North and ITV Studios, provides a hub for the creative digital and tech sector supporting 54,400 jobs and generating a GVA of £3.1bn across the city region. This sectoral approach is supported by strong local governance. In 2011 the city region established the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), a body that enables the 10 local authorities to work together to take a strategic approach in growth and reform. Last May Greater Manchester elected its first mayor, Andy Burnham. He will be able to act as an advocate on the international stage and our city has been leading the way with devolution and with control over health, transport and housing. Additionally we have planned for future investment through our Greater Manchester Spatial Framework which identifies key plots of land for new homes and business opportunities. This creates a sustainable building plan for businesses to invest in while providing new homes and employment for our growing population. Greater Manchester’s infrastructure is growing with new tramlines, motorway improvements and the HS2 high-speed train link all in development. Thanks to Manchester Airport the region is firmly positioned as the Gateway to the North of the UK. The airport is the third largest in the country and it handles over 26 million passengers a year on over 200 routes. The airport connects our city to global markets including the USA, India and China. As well as this, the mutually beneficial link and fantastic travel opportunities between Ireland and the North West of England are acknowledged with over 100 direct flights a week from Manchester to Cork, Dublin, Shannon and Knock. Greater Manchester’s long and proud history with the Irish community stretching back over two hundred years

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continues to this day. It goes further than the thousands who travel across the Irish Sea each week to watch their beloved Manchester United. Indeed it goes deeper than the thousands of Irish Mancunians who live in Levenshulme and throughout the city. Greater Manchester’s Irish population have helped grow the city and now that growth is continuing through the many opportunities the city offers to those who want to invest or work in one of the greatest regions in the world.

National Graphene Institute (above), Citylabs 1.0, Manchester (below)

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I BREXIT

STAYING OPEN for business Claudia Catelin, EU and Trade Analyst at the Institute of Directors, on protecting the unique British-Irish trading relationship.

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s the UK and the EU seek to disentangle over 40 years of close economic integration, one of the most difficult issues to resolve is the “invisible” border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. It’s the only land border between the EU and the UK and political, geographic, economic and cultural sensitivities abound. Outlining their approach to Brexit and Ireland, the UK and the EU put forward similar broad objectives. Protecting the Good Friday Agreement, maintaining the Common Travel Area and avoiding a hard border are shared aims. Both sides acknowledged the soft border had played a vital role in economic prosperity and security and that the relationship must be preserved. The 499km permeable border has meant the UK trades as much with Ireland as it does with China. Some 30,000 people cross the border each day, economic and trade ties between Ireland and the UK account for €60 billion annually and support 400,000 jobs. As an organisation that represents tens of thousands of company directors, the Institute of Directors (IoD) believes in the importance of maintaining this close trading bond. Almost a third of IoD members in the UK have commercial links (including supply chains, sales and employees) with Ireland, while three quarters of IoD Ireland members have business relations with the UK. The significance and value of the unique relationship for both sides is clear. But how frictionless can the border be? Isn’t keeping a seamless border the very definition of the UK having its cake and eating it? EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier has even said that “frictionless trade is not possible outside EU rules”. For business, the trading priority is to have as few barriers as possible. The main impediment to the existing soft border are potential customs tariffs which would add logistical and administrative burdens and impose extra costs on businesses. One way to avoid border delays would be to increase the number of customs officials. The construction, engineering and technology sectors rely heavily on employees’ ease of mobility crossing the border for short-term projects. Policymakers should aim to make it as easy as possible for that movement to

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continue. Our members appreciate the commitment from the UK and the EU to maintain the Common Travel Area and they look forward to seeing this pledge placed in the terms of the deal. Another course of action could be the introduction of an initiative modelled on the EU’s IntraCorporate Transfer. The agriculture and livestock sectors account for a large proportion of UK-Ireland trade. The UK is the most important market for Ireland’s agri-food and drink sector. It would benefit those companies if the UK were to seek equivalence in regulatory standards with the EU which would minimise customs checks and red tape. However, it is worth noting that there are some aspects of regulation where regulatory equivalence might not be preferable for both sides. For example some believe Ireland’s financial services sector will benefit from potential significant divestment from London in this area. It is imperative that economic ties between Ireland and UK remain as open as possible. Without this, the ramifications for trade and employment in Northern Ireland would be severe. The IoD is committed to working with policymakers and stakeholders on all sides to ensure our members’ needs are met and post-Brexit trading relationships are as barrier-free as possible. It is in the interests of the entire business community to maintain open trading flows.

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The main impediment to the existing soft border is customs tariffs which would add administrative burdens to business


enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

THE FUTURE

of FOREX

Richard Morrissey of Moneycorp Ireland on life at the foreign exchange coalface.

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he construction industry in Ireland is slowly starting to recover, according to Richard Morrissey, Associate Director of Moneycorp Ireland. “The Irish economy is in a good place, unemployment is low and the tax take is going up; generally growth rates are positive. In our industry, foreign exchange rates affect business on a daily basis. They react to what Theresa May, Angela Merkel and Donald Trump say or do so we see ourselves as being at the coalface.” Moneycorp is one of the largest foreign exchange companies in the UK. It is now looking at other opportunities around the world, particularly in the United States where it has recently acquired a foreign exchange

company called Commonwealth which is currently going through US regulatory approval. On Brexit, Richard Morrissey - whose Irish customer base is SMEs, corporate and private clients - is still undecided about the effect that a two year transition period after the March 2019 deadline might have on business. “It might be good in that it could bring more certainty to business but it could also be bad if it just drags things out for another two years.” Moneycorp Ireland was established in 2013 with a team made up of former corporate foreign exchange dealers from Irish and international banks. Richard Morrissey adds “we’re well known to the corporate market in Ireland and in the past four years we’ve built a corporate treasury business which competes with the major Irish banks.” He says the company’s ambition is to be a leading global payments business.

Go global, but don’t let currency fluctuations affect your bottom line At moneycorp, we have almost 40 years of experience and know the value of long-term relationships. We are proud to work with over 10,000 corporate clients tailoring foreign exchange hedging solutions whilst making overseas payments easier, faster and more cost-effective by utilising our marketleading technology and extensive panel of liquidity providers.

What we can offer your business Spot Contracts

Hedging Solutions

Market Orders

International Payments

Forward Contracts

To find out more about suitable solutions, please call 00 353 1901 5252 or email cfxdublin@moneycorp.com

www.moneycorp.com/business Forward Contracts may require a deposit dependent upon a credit assessment. TTT Moneycorp Ltd, trading as Moneycorp, is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland for conduct of business rules. Registered in England: No 738837. Incorporated 1962. Worldwide copyright © TTT Moneycorp Limited 2016. Moneycorp Financial Risk Management Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (firm reference number 452553) for the conduct of designated investment business


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I BREXIT

REASONS TO BE OPTIMISTIC? Martin Mockler of Evans Mockler on property prices and Brexit.

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ritish-based business has outgrown Irish activity for many Irish entrepreneurs who first ventured into the UK market during the bank crash, according to Martin Mockler, partner in accountancy and tax specialists Evans Mockler. “Many of the people who came over here at the time opened a UK division to find their feet, but in many cases their UK activity has outgrown what’s happening in Ireland.” The bulk of Evans Mockler’s clients are first or second generation Irish people involved in property, construction and affiliated sectors like road haulage and builders merchants. Martin Mockler says he picked up a lot of clients following the exodus from Ireland when the recession hit and they’re still here. He says this is because margins are still very tight in Ireland so a lot of people are focusing more

on the UK market. He adds that the improved economic activity in Ireland has come from the pharma and IT sectors rather than construction. Evans Mockler has expanded across the UK from its early days in North London and it now includes corporate finance services. Martin Mockler points out that both commercial and residential property prices have slowed slightly in London while Birmingham and Manchester are seeing significant growth. “Things took a significant pause for breath after the Brexit referendum. Some large and medium term projects were put on hold but now activity has increased again and business has never been as busy.” His main Brexit concern is potential erosion of economic confidence. “Can the UK government pull off a Brexit that can keep everybody happy? I don’t know. I’m an optimist but I don’t see any good news on the horizon.”


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BREXIT

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HOPING FOR THE BEST

of BREXIT

Ulster Unionist MLA, Steve Aiken, on the prospects for the post-Brexit Northern Ireland economy.

£2.2 billion The value of annual trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

manufacturing sectors and access to investment. With a functioning Northern Ireland government we could make a strong case for additional support to allow Northern Ireland to take advantage of the new relationship between Dublin, London and the regional capitals. We must be allowed to make significant capital investment in our infrastructure, our schools, our R&D, our energy and communications sectors and above all in higher and further education. The securing of an extra £1bn from Westminster should be a sharp incentive to deliver, especially for our construction sector.

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n Belfast we are yet again in a period of political uncertainty with the protagonists more fixated on defining ever darker shades of red lines than in dealing with the challenges to our economy. However there are glimmers of what a post Brexit Northern Ireland might look like that can potentially give us some hope. I have to be very honest here and point out that I voted Remain because I took the view that, while the EU wasn’t perfect, on balance we were better off in. But the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave and we have to make the best deal out of the “unique” circumstances of Northern Ireland. The economic case for optimism is that UK and Irish markets in agribusiness, energy, goods, services, logistics, aviation and tourism have become integrated and interconnected. Sixty-five billion euros worth of intraisland trade every year means our economic activity alone exceeds the GDP of many global and EU economies. Our geography means that most of these goods and services are generated, consumed, distributed, profits booked and investments made in these islands. This then leads on to some possible outcomes. Firstly the British and Irish governments and the EU want to avoid a hard border and minimise the impact of regulation and tariffs. That could be through some form of a customs union (with emphasis on the “a”), an all-island internal market for goods and services or some hybrid model. Provided we maintain the same regulations and standards, this could lead to an agreement taking into account the unique circumstances of such an interdependent region. That could allow Northern Ireland to retain full access to the Republic of Ireland for goods and services destined for use specifically within Ireland. It would mean a border that, while not seamless, would be sufficiently fluid to allow economic activity to continue much as before. Secondly most of our economic problems in Northern Ireland are down to the lack of skilled labour, realistic planning, support for our SME and indigenous

A culture of reinforcing success could break us free from our dependency culture

So what would Northern Ireland look like post Brexit, perhaps in 2025? The importance of our agribusiness will continue to grow with the major UK food chains buying more from these islands. Our fintech, genome, pharma, cyber security, AI, legal and accountancy services, robotics and energy storage will be growing, mostly driven by global exports. We will still be struggling for skills but there is a possibility that work permits for skilled migrants would have been devolved to the regions so we could maintain the workers we would still need. I would also be hopeful that a culture of reinforcing success rather than propping up failure would be delivering real economic growth and breaking us free from our dependency culture. The bleaker scenario is one in which the EU and UK are at loggerheads, the UK estranged from EU economies and the Republic of Ireland without access to the UK market. This outcome would do no one any good, least of all the people of Northern Ireland. The answer probably lies somewhere in between the two scenarios. I just hope that those making the final decision consider all the options.

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I SPORT

RACING TO BE THE BEST Success in business creates opportunity for racing dream reality.

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Michael Crees

coming fourth in the SODI World Karting Championship, but as this was the first time he had entered a race in a car he was considered an outsider to say the least. It was his determination, passion and a great support team that Michael steamed around the tracks and won the Championship in his rookie year. Vince decided that as long has he kept winning trophies, that he would provide the car, so now there is even more motivation for Michael to keep winning! This year Michael is entering the Ginetta GT4 Supercup and has his first race in April; we wish him luck. There are eight race weekends, with the series televised on ITV4. This popular event attracts an average of 19.7 million across the EU and is a support race for the British Touring Cars Championship, so one that we would recommend our members to watch out for!

National bathroom supplier has a need for speed!

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t’s always worth remembering that someone’s business isn’t their life, and there can be so many things to build connections with. Sometimes accountants have the souls of poets, and people that offer bathroom supplies have the need for speed! Vince Caldicott founded Premier Contract Supplies (PCS) back in 1998, after working in the firm Premier Heating Supplies (PHS), where he is still a partner. PCS has seen incredible expansion with sales doubling every 5 years since it was founded. Although passionate about bathrooms and heating, Vince’s true love lies on the racetrack. As a young boy Vince’s father use to build rally cars in the garage and had a fixation with American muscle cars that he passed on to his son. He had also been a motorbike racer in the British Army Racing Team, his dream bike being the Vincent 1000. Family legend says that this is where Vince got his name! A love of racing and fast cars would forever be with him, but he focussed on work and family, leaving behind dreams of racetrack glory. So it seems that fate intervened when Michael Crees, a new customer of PCS, came knocking at Vince’s door last year asking him for sponsorship to enter the GRDC Plus Championship 2017. As surprised as Michael was when Vince agreed, he was even more shocked when he offered to provide the car! With companies like Hansgrohe, Roca and Laufen sponsoring, PCS providing the car, and Michael’s passion to win, they formed a dedicated team and aimed to win. Michael Crees had previous racing experience, having won the British Karting Championships two years in a row, and


enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

Tel: 0333 600 1234 . Web: www.rapinteriors.co.uk . Email: refurb@rapinteriors.co.uk

Design and Fit Out

School Refurbishment

Transforming...

London Fit Out

Kent Refurbishment

OFFICE . SCHOOL . HEALTHCARE . LEISURE . RETAIL . INDUSTRIAL . WAREHOUSE

We LOVE Changing Spaces Working Nationally


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WOMEN IN CONSTRUCTION Brian O’Connell on closing the gender gap in construction.

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ow many women work in construction? Many in the sector might struggle to answer but women currently make up 11% of the workforce but just one percent of workers on site. The Office for National Statistics says that the number of women working as roofers, bricklayers and glaziers is so low that it is unmeasurable. A 2014 survey by UCATT gave a depressing picture of why those numbers are so low. Over half of women questioned said they were treated worse at work because of their gender and also cited a lack of promotional prospects, lower pay than male colleagues and bullying by managers. A quarter said they had to share toilet facilities with men while fifteen percent said it was difficult to find protective equipment to fit them properly. While there are still few women on sites there are increasing numbers attracted to careers as architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and project managers. In architecture for example, the proportion of registered female architects has risen above a quarter of the total for the first time. However according to a February 2017 Architects’ Journal survey, here too evidence persists of women suffering inequality in pay, a glass ceiling and a sexist culture. Across the sector there is still a long way to go. Sharon Field, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at BITA member FM Conway Ltd, believes that girls are not attracted to construction because of poor quality careers advice in schools. "Many teachers and parents are unaware of how the core subjects being taught in school link into the many varied career pathways within industry. Conway does a huge amount to remedy this careers problem by going into schools to give presentations and by offering pupils work experience opportunities." Jacqueline O’Donovan, Managing Director at O’Donovan Waste Disposal Ltd, agrees that the challenge of attracting girls into careers in construction needs to be addressed at an early stage in schools, “It’s a fantastic industry to get into but the fact that there are fewer careers officers in schools doesn’t help. We’ve worked in conjunction with the Construction Youth Foundation to design a programme to deliver in schools which is geared towards underprivileged kids but also highlights women and girls. It had historically been seen as a male-dominated industry and nothing had been done at school level to change that.” The London Construction Academy was established in 2013 to improve skills, employment prospects and increase access for young people to the construction workforce. The Academy has

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Most architects are OK, it’s the ones that suffer in silence that we need to support

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Above: Millie Field, Right: Jordelle Henriques, February 2016

had several female applicants on courses and it actively encourages more of them. The scheme operates up to four, two-week courses a year, is managed by the Worshipful Company of Paviors and is supported by FM Conway Ltd. One of those applicants, Shannen Ambrosio, was in the Academy’s November 2015 course and secured a graduate engineer role in the traffic service line with AECOM. Shannen’s verdict was that “the course really does what it says on the box – you get training and it made me realise stuff I didn’t know before.” In February 2016 another young woman, Jordelle Henriques graduated from the Academy and secured a line marking apprenticeship with WJ South. Successful Academy graduate Millie Field, who now works as a shipper with Tarmac, says the London Construction Academy gave her skills and confidence and that she was unlikely to have got the job without that support. “The Academy taught me about site safety, a key part of understanding how we operate on site. Shipping concrete in London is not easy but I get great support from the rest of our team." The London Construction Academy scheme was originally set up to deliver pre-employment training for FM Conway Ltd. That soon changed when the company realized it couldn’t supply a wide enough variety of jobs to graduates and started placing graduates with other companies that had roles which better suited them. Across the construction sector generally only 16% of senior jobs – those roles perceived as the most demanding and stressful - are filled by women. Mental health problems, now being identified as a growing issue in the sector, appear to affect women in construction more acutely than men. Almost half of all women who responded to a 2017 survey by Randstad said they were currently experiencing poor mental health. Over a quarter of women had taken time off as a result compared to 17% of men. Some employers already accept that in order to close the gender gap, more must be done to identify and support those suffering with mental health conditions. Irish architect Angela Brady is President of the Architects

Benevolent Society which provides counselling and support to colleagues who have been ill, often with work-related stress leading to mental health difficulties. She says “One of the really important things in our industry is that these issues are now being recognised. Most architects are OK, it’s the ones that suffer in silence that we need to support.” Jacqueline O’Donovan says she’s surprised that only about nine percent of engineers are female because many of the qualities required - such as foresight, creativity and being good at multi-tasking - are areas in which women excel, “That’s a talent which would go a long way in the construction industry where rigour brings excitement, achievements and accomplishment. It’s a career for life where you can go up and up the ladder.”

Shannen Ambrosio graduation, November 2015

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I BITA

THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A BETTER TIME TO JOIN BITA

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f you’re in business you’ll already know that the best and the most loyal clients come from relationships that are built up over time. That’s why “getting yourself out there” is the best way to do just that. It’s what makes BITA the go-to resource for members who want help with their plans for growth and what makes us the stand-out networking organisation for business owners and decision makers who want to expand into new territory. We have a wealth of contacts and expertise that can help you achieve your business goals. We are “the people who know people that help people”, a motto that has helped make our organisation unique. As a not for profit organisation we work to promote and grow SMEs, create and increase trade and improve business links between the UK and Ireland. Our Executive Board and our chapters are comprised of CEOs, business owners and key decision makers who offer their time, expertise and contacts to help fuel economic growth. We have chapters based in Dublin, London and Liverpool which offer strategic coverage in both countries. More recently we formed BITAx for under 35s to provide advice and connections for the younger generation. BITA’s team and members create a formidable force for economic good. Our networking events are the best way to consolidate relationships and capitalise on your involvement as BITA helps you make the right connections. We’ve found that BITA members who regularly attend events and get involved create more business opportunities. However if you are time

poor you might just decide to use our media platforms for advertising and marketing or promote your business through our great sponsorship opportunities. Our members support each other; that’s why you’ll find plenty of discounts and offers that will benefit your business. If it’s advice you’re looking for our board members have a wealth of knowledge and skills.

WHAT’S INCLUDED? • Your profile on our website • Access to key decision makers • Exclusive discounts through premium suppliers and BITA members • Ticket discounts for many BITA events • Promotion of your business through sponsorship and media opportunities • Free educational workshops

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Our monthly networking events have been designed to put you at ease in a friendly, fun and relaxed environment. We know that some people struggle with networking which is why we have ‘Event Hosts’ who act on behalf of BITA, greeting people and looking after new faces. The BITA

BITA membership has benefitted us by opening up new markets and giving us access to a bigger network Declan McGeeny, Laing O’Rourke

calendar includes networking lunches, golf days and race nights as well as our Gala Dinners. The BITA website, social media and newsletters will keep you up to date with everything that’s going on. With over 1,000 unique visitors each month, our website is a great resource where you can keep your profile up to date with news about your company which will reach a whole new audience. Make sure you let us know about any developments – we can then shout about your successes. We have a great potential audience for you with active followers across social media, a wide-reaching newsletter and our magazine. But you have to tell us first!

Join BITA today! To sign up go to https://www.bita.ie/join.html

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Ready for a spectacular evening of glamour? Venetian Masquerade Ball • 20th October • Savoy, London Our annual Gala Dinner and awards ceremony is held at the stunning Savoy, London, on the 20th October, and is the time we shine a spotlight on our amazing hard-working members. Contact laura@bita.ie to book your space at this unmissable event 25 BITA awards half page advert.indd 1

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ENTER THE BITA AWARDS The BITA Awards are held at the annual Gala Dinner, 20th October Our awards give us the opportunity to acknowledge the hard work that our members put into their business throughout the year. If you know a company that should be nominated, or want to nominate your own, contact laura@bita.ie who will send you the nomination form, or visit http://bit.ly/2otcm6.

There are 6 categories: Training and Apprenticeships Provider Building Bridges Business to Business Growing Business Small Business of the Year Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Don’t miss out, get the recognition you deserve! Entries must be in by the 31st May 2018


enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

I FASHION

ALWAYS SATISFIED WITH THE BEST Irish designer Paul Costelloe talks to Brian O’Connell about staying ahead of the competition.

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hen I meet Paul Costelloe he is in pain following a visit to a physiotherapist. It’s six weeks since he broke his collarbone in a cycling accident but brushes aside any suggestion that – in his early seventies - it might be time to stop cycling around London, “Not at all, it’s a great way to keep an eye on the competition, you can just pop into a shop for a couple of minutes and take a look around.” Paul Costelloe has been one of Ireland’s leading fashion designers for nearly forty years and is clearly still cycling hard to stay ahead of the competition. It’s just two weeks since he showed his Spring Summer 2018 collection at London Fashion Week. The inspiration for the line came from the late 1960s when he started his career in Paris, “There were famous designers like Pierre Cardin and André Courrèges. The look is very Jackie O, very French, very Avenue Matignon and Champs-Élysées. It was one of the easiest collections I’ve done because it was from

As a designer, you have to control the whole product, the quality, the structure, and the price

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Paul Costelloe

my early life when I was working there, a little Dublin boy in Paris without a word of French.” It costs over £100,000 to put on a show at London Fashion Week but Paul Costelloe still believes it’s well worthwhile, “It’s getting more and more expensive but it keeps the profile and it establishes the brand. People see you’re part of that London, Paris, New York and Milan group and as long as I’m on that list, people think I’m relevant. The shows help me to find new collaborations - like furnishings or perfumes - that can carry a designer name and assist in giving a product a higher retail value.” Paul Costelloe moved from Dublin to London in 1999 but says, only half-jokingly, that he may move again because he still wants one more adventure. “It could be New York, it could be Italy but the little thatched cottage in Donegal will have to wait another couple of years.” The Costelloe family still have a home in Monkstown in Dublin which they visit regularly but Paul says he doesn’t see himself moving back to Ireland. Business is good on both sides of the Irish Sea. His Dunnes Stores homeware collection, Paul Costelloe Living, is still selling well and his tailored Paul Costelloe menswear line is carried in House of Fraser stores and many independent outlets in the UK. “As long as I’m working, London keeps me sharp, it keeps me thinking. It’s the competition.” In 2011 his signature Paul Costelloe Collection – a classic womenswear brand which was in most John Lewis Stores - went into administration, an experience he describes as “horrific and very humbling”. It taught him that he needed to have far greater control over every collaboration with other companies. “You always have to remind yourself that it’s your name on the product. People aren’t buying some vague purchase, they’re buying the Paul Costelloe name. As a designer, you have to control the whole product, the quality, the structure and the price in both the retail environment and online.” He quotes


FASHION

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London Fashion Week, September 2017

Oscar Wilde “I have the simplest of tastes, I am always satisfied with the best.” Today the business encompasses womenswear, menswear, bags and accessories, homeware, jewellery, eyewear and children’s wear. Over the years the Paul Costelloe brand has remained a family-owned company run from the London headquarters by Paul, his wife Anne, two of their sons Robert and William and their daughter Jessica. “There’s a lot of creativity and ideas here and they all understand the industry because they’ve been brought up in it” adds Paul as he proudly displays a modern Claddagh ring which William has designed for the Japanese market. It’s manufactured in Japan’s Tohoku region from a cobalt-chromium alloy and it commemorates the lives lost there when a tsunami struck the area in 2011. On the post-Brexit prospects for the business Paul Costelloe appears sanguine. “I’m very fortunate in that I have my feet in both the euro and the sterling areas. As long as you are special and different, there are certainly opportunities outside Europe. We’ve been looking at the Australian market and have already started doing some menswear business there.” His advice for small companies entering the fashion business is to produce well designed, well priced, individual products. ”You’ve got to get your social media profile right and it’s about being brave and individual. You’ve got to keep it moving on and keep it as exciting and stimulating as possible!”

London keeps me sharp, it keeps me thinking

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enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

FOR THE LOVE OF... Why the demand for hospitality services is higher and more sophisticated than ever


enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

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WHAT'S THE RED TAPE? Whilst the Bribery Act legislation provides a helping hand to do business competitively and fairly it also recognises the need for transparent hospitality spending. Ministry of Justice guidance quoted Kenneth Clarke Secretary of State for Justice March 2011 "The guidance makes clear that no one is going to try to stop businesses getting to know their clients by taking them to events like Wimbledon, Twickenham or the Grand Prix," said Clarke. "Reasonable hospitality to meet, network and improve relationships with customers is a normal part of business."

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hether your ‘thing’ is dinner at the chef’s table, watching your favorite team in the Premier League or drinking Champagne at Wimbledon; what better way to meet a prospective client or cement an existing relationship than doing it with a memorable experience thrown in. Corporate Hospitality is becoming more sophisticated to meet the requirements of a challenging market whose expectations increase due to the exposure that Social media provides to people who want to share those amazing experiences with their networks. Enhanced experiences which include celebrity introductions, and tailored packages for the different tastes of family members are included in the most discerning of hospitality providers.

Photos curtesy of Champions Travel

Relationships aren’t built on business, they’re built on shared interests and experiences

DOES HOSPITALITY PROVIDE ROI? There are always companies out to lure away your big fish so standing out from the crowd and making sure that relationships with your stakeholders is strong is an imperative in today’s challenging economy. Estimates vary, but corporate hospitality sees spending of around £1.4 billion each year in the UK, and increasingly companies are seeing investments in hospitality as an essential part of their business strategy. These are great opportunities for your investors/ prospective clients to get to know you in a different light, they also offer opportunities for them to get to know some of your key members of staff helping to create even better business relationships on a daily basis. BITA member deals and discounts can be obtained from: London Irish corporate hospitality: Brian.Facer@london-irish.com Champions Travel corporate hospitality: donna@championstravel.ie Contraband Events enquiries: Abbey@contrabandevents.com

Of course, you need to make sure that you are investing wisely. Take the opera aficionado with no interest in rugby to a game or taking an Arsenal fan to a Tottenham match might not be the best use of your resources and could end up scuppering the deal. Relationships aren’t built on business, they are built on shared interests and experiences. Providing your staff, potential clients and suppliers with memories they can share and revel in, will create loyalty and establish longlasting and successful relationships. Look for a return on the experience, instead of a return on the investment! Retain staff, attract clients, meet a few celebrities, gain brand recognition and watch your favorite sport; sounds like a winning recipe to us! http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/legislation/ bribery-act-2010-guidance.pdf

Champions Travel www.champions-travel.com

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HOW BITA HELPED MY BUSINESS

Pierre Saunal, director and partner at Create Design+Architecture on how BITA membership brings added value to his practice.

CITYJET

to launch a new project called Ideas Tasting which he describes as a mixture between a networking event and a seminar. Ideas Tasting gives ten people from different disciplines a chance to exchange ideas in a two hour session which CREATE now hosts four times a year in conjunction with BITA and Better Bankside which is CREATE’s local business improvement district. One recent breakfast session discussed gender balance and diversity in the construction sector. Pierre says there is a common misconception about networking, “Going to a networking event doesn’t necessarily mean you will win a project. The real purpose of networking is to increase the visibility of your business. If you can do that, the projects will follow. We’ve met a lot of people through BITA. Networking is so important these days and the BITA environment and strategy of bringing people together is excellent”

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or most of us, networking is a bit like healthy eating: we all know we should do a bit more of it but few of us actually get around to doing enough of it. However for Pierre Saunal, director and partner at London-based practice CREATE DESIGN+ARCHITECTURE, networking is a central part of his business model. “Like many practices, we face increasing challenges due to the constant evolution of local and global contexts. We are having to adapt on an almost daily basis and networking is a top priority for growing our business.” Pierre’s membership of BITA started with a discussion with current BITA president Paul Whitnell during the 2015 Irish Post Awards. Pierre says it was a mutual understanding and shared core values which led to CREATE join BITA. “We discovered a friendly, dynamic and efficient organisation where people are at the core of developing business relationships. CREATE then sponsored a Construction Networking Lunch which allowed us to introduce our business to the members and discussed potential opportunities.” However Pierre believes the way in which people network is slowly changing. “When you network you might go to an event and listen to a panel but we believe everyone has interesting things to say.” This led him

The real purpose of networking is to increase your visibility

Up to 30% OFF all flights Take advantage of our great relationship with CityJet and get your codes for discounts on flights between London and Dublin! Codes are changed monthly and offer up to 30% off, so make sure you keep up to date and contact laura@bita.ie. If you travel regularly ask Laura to be introduced to their accounts manager and get access to even better deals! Offer Strip advert.indd 1

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GOLF

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and a hit

Why do golfers get ahead?

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olf is the sport of the non-sporty, a team game for individuals. It’s a game based on trust, honesty and integrity. Players report their handicaps and strokes, and novices have a chance at beating the regulars, as a game of equals and one that builds trust and camaraderie, it’s a game of choice for building great relationships with people you want to do business with. With time built in to chew the fat and without the worry that the guy you want to sell widgets to is going to have a heart attack on the tennis court, you also want to know that the person you want to do business with can remain calm under pressure, never lose their temper and thinks strategically. But you don’t have to be a good golfer to create a good impression, the way you conduct yourself while you

It's a game based on trust, honesty and integrity

play is far more important than the results on your scorecard. BITA’s fifth annual Golf Masters is taking place on the 6th July at the London Golf Club. As usual this event promises a day of great golf, better craic, and offers a bonus of eye-watering trousers. If you would like to take part in the BITA Golf Masters on the 8th July, enjoy a great breakfast, lovely dinner with entertainment and do a full 18 holes, contact laura@bita.ie to enter a team today.

BITA Golf Days

BITA Golf Masters 6th July at the London Golf Club

FORE! We can’t wait to welcome all you golfers to the London Golf Club on the 6th July for another wonderful day at the BITA Masters. Enter a four-ball or as a single and enjoy a great day of golf, trophies, prizes and sociable networking – contact laura@bita.ie for more information.

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I CONSTRUCTION

LIGHTHOUSE CLUB The charity delivering emergency financial help to construction industry workers and families in need.

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onstruction can be a dangerous and stressful industry. Every year there are an average of 40 fatalities on British and Irish sites, over 1.7 million days are lost through injury or illness and approximately 400 workers take their own lives. Over two thousand accidents annually leave workers so badly incapacitated that they are unable to return to work. In December 2016, 21 year old Danny Burgess became one of those workers. He was working in a room when a boiler exploded spraying him with boiling water. He was airlifted to a burns unit and spent a month in hospital. With 55% burns to his hands, back and legs he was unable to stand for longer than two minutes. He also suffered damage to his lungs which left him breathless and he continues to suffer with infections from his burns. Danny has been told he can never work with plaster or lime again because of the damage it would cause to his skin grafts. Despite everything he has been through, he remains optimistic for the future and, with help from the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity, he is hoping to retrain to become a quantity surveyor.

Danny Burgess

The Lighthouse helpline, funded by the construction industry, provides a 24/7 safety net for workers and families in crisis in the UK and Ireland. It offers financial aid, advice on health and wellbeing and support with legal, tax and debt issues. In 2016 Lighthouse distributed almost £700,000. Lighthouse Chief Executive, Bill Hill points out that the charity has been delivering this service since 1956. “During that time collaboration with the Irish community as a major provider of labour has always been of vital importance. Our recent activity with BITA has made this relationship stronger than ever.” The charity receives no public funding and relies on the generosity of the construction industry. Without that support it wouldn’t have been able to make a difference to people like Danny Burgess.


enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk


enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

I BITA

THE CRISIS OF MODERN COMMUNICATION Laura Watkins, Operations Manager BITA ltd

The team here at BITA have made it our mantra to revert to old values and use our lips instead of our thumbs when communicating. This doesn’t mean we are old fashioned, just that we feel that we can serve our members better if we really get to know them and find out what it is that we can help them with. I am a very friendly person and I don’t think that can come across as well in an email or text. It’s our dedication to building personal and successful relationships that’s behind our commitment to providing opportunities to meet face to face, whether at a lunch, golf, seminar or over a beer. “But phone calls and meetings take more time” I can hear many of you say. Yes, they do, but the success of our membership in gaining more business and making successful connections proves its time worth spending.

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‘I discussed it with them earlier’. What does this response conjure for you? Two people having a conversation face to face or a friendly chat over the phone? Unfortunately, these days you can’t take it for granted this is the case as when uttering these words many young people will be talking about emails or even messaging. It’s second nature for me to refer to emails and texts as speaking to someone, and it’s something that my generation, and those coming after me, won’t pause to think about. The friendly conversations and relationships built over a coffee or a pint are fading away, replaced by words, however well meaning, on a screen. When I started working for BITA, I used social media and emails over phone calls or arranging meetings as it seemed easier and the best way to communicate with more people. The issue here is that people seem busier than ever, we all suffer from Inbox overload and an email is far easier to forget or overlook than a phone call, so you could end up waiting sometime for a response and in some cases your email goes so far down their Inbox it gets overlooked altogether!

Communication works for those who work at it. John Powell


enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

MARKETING

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THE SURPRISING TRUTH

ABOUT MARKETING

Marketing strategist, Diane Birch, says a company’s values should be present in every aspect of the business.

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hink of the word “marketing” and it’s likely that you’ll immediately picture a company logo or website, or perhaps a series of complicated slides explaining customer choices. Yet marketing is not just about your logo, website, customer presentations or the values described in your mission statement. The often-surprising truth is that successful marketing represents a combination of each and every element of your business in a consistent and joinedup approach. Many people feel that marketing is a complex and tactical process, far removed from the day-to-day reality of what they do for a living. However, from the attitude of your receptionist to the quality of the invoices you send to your customers, marketing is a living process that encapsulates everything your company is and does. This means that the intangible aspects of your business, such as the happiness and wellbeing of your staff, are just as important as the tangible aspects. If your staff are well versed in your company values, if they understand and enjoy their jobs, they will perform their duties in a manner that is consistent with how you describe your business to the world – and your phones will be answered with a smile! A good starting exercise is to examine your own company values and then ask your staff what those values mean to them. For example if your business prides itself on its honest approach, how is that sense of honesty present at every level of

the company? Do your staff even truly understand what you mean by “honesty”? You have probably dealt with at least one company that boasts a friendly online presence yet demonstrates rude or abrupt customer service in person. You may not be tempted to deal with that company again, particularly if there are other options to choose from. By considering your company as a whole and by looking at how every element interconnects – from financial procedures and technical support to internal communications and customer branding – you can genuinely transform your business. That, in a nutshell, is the surprising truth about marketing!

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Marketing is a living process that encapsulates everything your company is and does

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I BUSINESS

WELCOMES A TIDE OF

NEW PROFESSIONALS Tiernan Dixon, BITAx Board Member and Marketing Specialist at Ardent Tide, talks to us about how BITAx is going to provide access to a wealth of knowledge and opportunity for a new generation of professionals.

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Our aim to establish ourselves as the go-to network for young professionals

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rofessional development within younger generations is too often sought after without the support of peers and networks, often this support can give the edge needed for success . BITAx was established with the view of creating a focused network for young professionals excited by the prospect of developing personal and commercial ties that could last a life-time. Much like BITA; BITAx envisions its development through regular board meetings. Our board consists of young professionals at all levels, from a range of industries. This breadth of knowledge has given us the opportunity to blend multi-industry connections, ensuring our events are worthwhile for everyone. Alongside integration with BITA, we also run our own functions, with the first being held in October last year at Jacs Mayfair. This was a roaring success with over 100 young professionals in attendance and featured guest speakers including UniLad founder John Quinlan, CEO of Pundit Arena Ross O’Dwyer and CEO of Tech City Ventures, George Johnston. The mission statement is to establish ourselves as the go-to network for young professionals, providing an

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From left to right: Leigh Cairns (JM CLARK), Ryan Dignam (FAUN Zoeller), Neal Tilbury (IBISworld) & Danny Marshall (Marshalls logistics).

essential resource for the thousands of young Irish moving over to the UK and vice versa. Our philosophy is parallel to that of BITA in that networking should not be a chore, but something we look forward too . With this in mind we have in the pipeline a variety of exciting events, including an evening at the Irish embassy, introducing our generation to the art of networking and creating a legacy for BITA. We are looking to BITA members with younger family, friends orcolleagues looking totheir own professional business networks to encourage them to get in touch for a 62% discount on membership (£76 for 12 months .) Any members with businesses that would like to appeal to professionals aged 20-35 might like to consider sponsorship. We can give your brand targeted exposure and help build brand association with young, active professionals in London. Contact tiernan@ardenttide.co.uk for more information about sponsorship and membership.


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BITA

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HELPING OUR MEMBERS THRIVE At BITA we constantly look for ways to help our members and our Education Programme is providing the tools and information they need to overcome their challenges.

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ur goal over the next couple of years is to provide every opportunity for our members to learn, participate and contribute and our recent workshops and panel discussions by leading experts on topics as diverse as the challenges and opportunities of Brexit, the future of fintech, and payment mechanisms in construction contracts, have already proven a success. Rift R&D’s London seminar on R&D Tax Credit refunds and Legal expertise from Silver Shemmings Ash LLP will provide a series of seminars that will form an invaluable ‘pocket’ guide for construction professionals for use in their everyday work. Liverpool chapter are hosting

monthly seminars including GDPR and R&D. Dublin will be hosting a great event on agri-business and alternate finance solutions. With a series of workshops and seminars being rolled out throughout 2018 across all our chapters, your annual membership fee is giving you and your teams additional benefits that will help your business to thrive. Don’t miss out, these events are FREE to our members and attending could either save you money or provide you with essential knowledge. To find out what educational events we have coming up, check the bita website, and if you would like to talk about hosting your own seminar contact laura@bita.ie.

Lead Generation for Construction and the Built Environment

Are you looking to get specified on more projects? Do you need to get your product or service in front of more Architects, Contractors, Designers? Would you like to meet more decision makers? If the answer is Yes, contact us to find out how we can help.

sales@crannull.co.uk 01582 256010 www.crannull.co.uk Crannull specialise in generating new business opportunities in the construction sector, in the UK and Ireland. Crannull can open the door for you to get your business in front of the right people in the right organisations.


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I BREXIT

DEALING WITH THE POLITICS OF BREXIT Former Irish Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Mary Coughlan considers the challenges and opportunities for Ireland.

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favoured the United Kingdom remaining in the EU because it was strongly in Ireland’s interest in areas like trade, travel, peace, borders, standards, fiscal policy and food policy. But my pro-Remain view went further. My experience over many years attending the EU’s Council of Ministers had been of a UK that was one of three key nations actively shaping the trajectory of Europe’s economic and social development. It was of a UK that shared many Irish sensibilities and advocated for many EU reforms that Ireland saw as also being in her interests. While Ireland and the UK did not share a common position on every policy area – agriculture being a key area of difference – we were broadly aligned across a wide spectrum. Ireland and the UK were often allies and Ireland’s negotiating tactics regularly leveraged the UK’s relative weight to her cause. I knew the UK’s departure from the EU would leave Ireland exposed and without a key ally. It is without precedent and it is a position for which the Irish Government and political system must now begin actively to prepare and resource itself. In order to be heard, Ireland will need her strongest and most experienced voices in Brussels. New and more diverse alliances need to be constructed. New ways of articulating Ireland’s world view need to be developed. And a new intense focus needs to be

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It is not in the interests of any side that there is no deal or that there is a bad deal

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placed on better understanding the world view of Ireland’s remaining fellow EU member states. As a former Minister for Agriculture, I witnessed the positive outcomes of the EU’s common agricultural policy. Agriculture is not as important to the UK as it is to Ireland but food origin, food security and food quality are. Will the UK now ‘dumb-down’ standards of animal husbandry and food quality in pursuit of a cheap food policy? How will this impact UK food production and exports to its existing EU markets? How will the UK replace EU income supports for its farmers and vulnerable rural communities? If not handled adroitly these issues have the potential to cause significant political upset in the UK. Change in the UK will create particular challenges for Ireland which has always been dependent on UK markets, in particular for her food and beverage enterprises. Ireland took a strategic decision some years ago to actively target new world market opportunities but the UK market remains dominant for such sectors. Differing standards and price competitiveness through new unilateral UK trade arrangements will be of major concern. It is not in the interests of any side that there is no deal or that there is a bad deal. The concern for Ireland is what ground may be conceded in the final moments to secure what is judged to be the right deal. That’s why intense political and diplomatic discussions by Ireland with all our EU partners are paramount. When the UK leaves the EU Ireland will lose a valued reform-minded ally from round the table. Over the past two decades there has been a fundamental improvement in the political relationship between Ireland and the UK. Notwithstanding the UK’s decision to leave the EU, both countries must ensure that we do everything to maintain and build upon these strong relationships over the years ahead. Organisations like BITA have a critical role to play in cementing these relationships, particularly in the SME sector. It can also play an important role in advocating for innovative and pragmatic solutions as Ireland and the UK begin to take different European paths in the years ahead.


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BITA DUBLIN

BITA’s Dublin chapter is going from strength to strength.

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wo years after its launch, the Dublin chapter of BITA is growing fast with interest coming mostly from SMEs in the fintech, professional services and construction sectors. Chair of BITA Dublin chapter, Enda Newton, describes membership as quite a broad church, “We are holding networking and education events on the threats and opportunities associated with Brexit, motivating members to take action to mitigate risks such as foreign exchange.” The chapter works with the British Embassy in Dublin to help BITA members see what the post-Brexit horizon looks like from a UK perspective. Enda Newton, who is a partner at the Dublin-based commercial law firm AMOSS Solicitors, says they recently held an event on fintech opportunities which drew 185 people, “We essentially got people in the room and got them talking. There is the Northern Powerhouse in northwest England and there are tech opportunities in Wales so there’s a lot more going on other than in Ireland.” Because of this strategy, he says, more Dublin BITA members are now starting to do business outside Ireland.

Over €1bn The value of weekly trade both ways between Britain and Ireland

Some of them attended a recent Co-operation Ireland BITA event in Manchester to see where the skills shortages and gaps lie in the UK market. While the chapter organises informal networking evenings to coincide with similar BITA events in London and Liverpool, Brexit is seen as one of the biggest challenges and the Dublin team keeps a close eye on developments. They recently held the first in a series of updates at the Shelbourne Hotel where speakers included Fianna Fail’s Brexit spokesman Stephen Donnelly TD, the British Ambassador and a number of experts. Enda Newton adds “On Brexit, we are trying to get down from the theoretical to the granular. We’re monitoring the political situation and we’re focused on education. We’re not creating policy, we’re out there creating opportunities for our members so it’s quite practical.”

Paul Whitnell, BITA President speaking at Dublin Fintech Conference, June 2017


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I CONSTRUCTION

IRELAND’S

HOUSING CRISIS Brian O’Connell says housing provision is critical to Ireland’s economic competitiveness.

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espite concerns over the effect of Brexit, Ireland’s economy has steadily improved since the 2008 crash. Unemployment has been in decline since 2012 and Ireland has enjoyed one of the fastest growth rates in the EU. The Bank of Ireland hiked its GDP growth projections for 2017 and 2018 commenting that “the overarching narrative regarding the Irish economy remains one of an ongoing recovery in domestic demand, reflected in solid consumer spending and construction investment in particular.” However that recovery is unevenly spread and economic optimism continues to be soured by a growing housing shortage. This is partly the result of underinvestment in housing by successive Irish governments. State spending on housing fell from more than 3% of GDP in 2001 to 1% in 2015. Consultants Deloitte have warned that the housing crisis has the potential to become the biggest constraint on Irish economic growth and could limit Ireland’s ability to

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Economic optimism is being soured by a housing shortage

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attract inward investment, particularly from the UK in the wake of Brexit. In the private sector the number of housing units for sale is critically low and is fuelling house price inflation, particularly in Dublin. According to estate agents Sherry Fitzgerald, supply fell 9% to 25,100 units in the 12 months to July 2017. That is about half the number of units advertised for sale in July 2010. Many vacant properties are unsuitable either because of their size, condition or location. Houses on so-called ghost estates remain unfinished, a legacy of the postCeltic Tiger crash. In a finding which was criticised by some local authorities as a gross overestimate, the Central Statistics Office quoted a 2016 census finding that there were more than 183,000 vacant dwellings in the Republic. However the CSO’s analysis also suggested the number of vacant dwellings was low in Dublin, where housing demand is highest. Added to that, the nature of Ireland’s housing market has changed. Demand for traditional three bedroom semi-detached houses has decreased and been replaced by a requirement for more apartments. Ireland’s Housing Agency says the number of houses being built increased by nearly 20% in 2016. But to meet current demand Ireland will need at least 81,000 new homes by 2020. Back in 2006, at the peak of the building boom, Ireland built 90,000 units in one year. That boom ended with many families unable to pay their mortgages and today in Ireland there are almost 92,000 people on housing lists and 7,000 homeless people. Pressure is increasing for greater provision of social and affordable housing. Calls for action to stem the crisis have controversially included the return of bedsits (which were banned in Ireland four years ago) and the transformation of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) into a government-owned housebuilder (which drew objections from some of Ireland’s biggest developers). NAMA had been originally set up in 2009 to take over property loans from Ireland’s banks which were threatened with insolvency.


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A report by the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland identified the causes of the crisis as lengthy planning processes, inconsistencies in the interpretation of regulations and delays in the provision of public utilities to developments. The Irish Congress of Trade Unions said the focus should be on areas of greatest urban social housing need and called for the introduction of a 6% vacant site levy. In March 2017 the government set aside €226,000 million as a Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund. The money was to be used to pay for access roads and infrastructure for incomplete sites which had been dormant since the property crash. In return, local authorities – mostly in Dublin, Cork and on the east coast – would be required to negotiate with developers to deliver a proportion of developments as affordable housing. The plan was estimated to deliver almost 28,000 homes by 2021 but in areas like south Dublin developers were reported to have had problems delivering affordable housing for €300,000 per unit. As questions continue about whether the private sector can deliver affordable units in urban areas, the case increases for the State to identify and start a programme of affordable housebuilding. Unless the pace of delivery of housing increases, the risk the crisis poses to Ireland’s economy will continue to grow.

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I SECTION NAME

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BUCKING THE TREND Etag Fixings’ forward thinking and willingness to take risks is a recipe for success.

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tag Fixings was founded by friends Paul Bonner and Damien Lynch in Ireland back in 2004; the economy was robust and opportunities were everywhere. Paul, with his background in fixings, and Damien, with experience in construction supply, were well placed to take advantage of these opportunities, and went ahead with founding their new company which experienced steady growth. Then, as with many companies, the dream came to an end with the recession in 2008. Like many companies based in construction, Etag was hit hard, but instead of turning inwards and cutting costs, they decided to take a risk and open a new office in the UK to use as a life-raft for the Irish business. They were advised before coming that the recession was alive and well in London too, but after a quick trip to count cranes in the capital they disregarded this advice and arrived in force to set up shop in 2011. Looking at the company now we can see that it was a gamble that paid off. Etag is stronger than ever, with turnover increasing by 40% on last year, the staff that arrived back in 2011 to set everything up have remained and joined the thriving diaspora community in London, and Etag in Ireland is going strong. The UK arm was rewarded handsomely in 2017 when they were announced as winners in the medium business of the year category at the Thames Gateway Awards. Shirley Bowman, general manager, said it was recognition for the successful implementation of operating systems

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London is a great city to trade in and it always will be

and the development and recruitment of a great team that meant the most. Shaun Bonner, sales director of Etag Fixings UK is excited to be part of the future of Etag and London’s story in these uncertain times, “The effects of Brexit are yet to be seen and whilst there is uncertainty, Etag is looking with optimism to the future. London is a great city to trade in and it always will be. There is a spirit here to thrive and survive. I think we have found our home in London”.

Etag Fixings UK Ltd Unit 14E Thames Gateway Park, Chequers Lane, Essex, RM9 6RH T: +44 (0)208 691 5794 E: london@etagfixings.com W: www.etagfixings.co.uk


We offer next day delivery as standard and carry the best products, helping clients deliver high-quality building projects

Servicing large multi-national construction companies through to SME contractors and local builders, Etag stock top quality products for all construction markets including: • Protection Equipment • Power Tool Accessories • Building Supplies • Plastering Materials • Fireproofing • Mechanical & Electrical • Scientific / Pharma

• Access Panels • Fixings & Fasteners • Drywall Screws • Ceilings & Partitions • Insulation • Roofing • Formwork

For more information or to make an order, contact london@etagfixings.com or call 020 8691 5794


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I APPRENTICESHIPS

PAVING THE WAY FOR THE FUTURE Investment in apprentices will see companies ready for the next challenge.

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he government’s strategy as outlined in their 2020 Vision is for young people to see apprenticeships as a high quality and prestigious path to successful careers, and for these opportunities to be available across all sectors of the economy, in all parts of the country and at all levels. There is an obvious skills gap in the UK economy, particularly in construction. UK productivity stands at approximately 20% below the rest of the G7, and a large contributing factor is the skills shortage. We have been working with Geason Training, Danny Sullivan Group, Laing O’Rourke and others to focus on apprenticeships, and to help create a strong, able and trained workforce to help combat this deficit. Apprenticeships deliver important benefits to employers in terms of service and productivity. In a recent government survey, 70% of surveyed employers said apprenticeships improved product quality and service, and that the cost of apprenticeship training pays for itself within a couple of years of completion through increased productivity. Laing O’Rourke has been a trailblazer in this arena for years, making sure that its workers are upskilled and ready for new challenges, focussing on in-house development, and taking on, training and nurturing people at the early stages of their construction careers. In partnership with the University of Exeter, Laing O’Rourke has developed

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70% of surveyed employers said apprenticeships improved product quality and service

the exciting civil engineering site management degree apprenticeship. This fully-funded, part-time degree apprenticeship provides students the opportunity to learn at a Russell Group university with paid employment and industrial experience. With the cost of university tuition fees in England the highest in the world at an average of £9,188 a year*, there is a need now more than ever for a fully-funded pathway to higher education and professional qualification paid for by the government and the employer. Stephen O’Rourke of Laing O’Rourke feels that it is the commitment of the company to training that has helped them to not just grow, but to thrive. ‘You need to attract top talent and continually develop your existing employees, to help them achieve their goals in line with our mission to become the recognised leader for innovation and excellence in the construction industry. If you want to have the best and most productive workforce, you need to look after those who are helping you build your company.’ Many of our members are already realising the benefits that come from hiring an apprentice, and with the apprenticeship levy and the government focus in this area, it’s worth checking your options if you’re expanding your staff. For more information visit: hireanapprentice.campaign.gov.uk For information about the apprenticeship levy visit: www.geasontraining.co.uk

*The average annual cost of £9,188, makes it significantly higher education in the US, where the average student pays $9,410 (£7,518) per annum, according to the Student Loan Calculator website.

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Flexible, progressive training for the construction industry

Geason Training is a leading construction training organisation with training centres throughout the UK. Our founding Directors have been immersed in construction all of their lives and have made the journey from entry level all the way to Degree qualified construction professionals. So we understand the value of progressive learning. We design and deliver a wide variety of apprenticeship programmes, from Level 2 through to Degree level and our trainers operate all over the UK on customer sites as well as at our Geason Training Academy. This flexible approach allows your employees to learn 24/7 and commence programmes at any time of the year. Our core objective is to deliver ‘world-class’ results while maximising return on investment. Our team of experts will help you manage your Apprenticeship Levy and maximise your funding opportunities to deliver real and tangible results that have a positive impact on the bottom line.

2005

Year established

300 Clients

24/7 Learning

Contact us now 0330 088 9596

www.geasontraining.co.uk


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Ian Atkinson Photographer - www.ianatkinsonphotographer.com

MAKE YOUR BUSINESS STAND OUT FOR THE RIGHT REASONS A picture may be worth a thousand words but is it worth paying a professional for?

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here are plenty of reasons why some businesses choose not to use a professional to capture them at their best but the most common one is; “Jeff’s pretty nifty with his phone camera – he can do it!” But is a nice picture taken with Jeff’s camera phone right for your business? Is that picture going to get to the beating heart of what you do, providing potential clients with fresh and compelling visual reasons to do business with you, does it portray you as a professional company that offers a quality service? There are countless business benefits in engaging a professional photographer, but here are just a few:

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The whole point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain things with words. Elliott Erwitt

A PROFESSIONAL CAN MAKE ANYTHING INTERESTING!

Professional photography isn’t just for glamorous multinationals who want to hide flaws and turn mundane items into something they’re not. Perhaps you think that as you work in an industry that runs on machinery that it doesn’t look as good as a shiny sports car. How could anyone make it look appealing, least of all someone who doesn’t know your business inside out?

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A professional photographer comes equipped with the skill, insight and practical tools to take a seemingly ordinary or uninteresting object and show it at its captivating best. They’ll smoothly translate your business into visually arresting images just like the one above. Images that are guaranteed to resonate with your chosen audience.

CAN JEFF REALLY TAKE THAT ‘WOW’ SHOT WITH HIS CAMERA PHONE? Jeff has taken some pretty good shots with his nifty camera phone, but sometimes there’s just something missing, so you find yourself interrupting your working day to give him directions, trying to get your point across to get that elusive ‘wow’ shot. Meanwhile, someone with the right skills, qualifications and experience can quickly and easily get to work on showing you at your best.

CREATING ATTENTION-GRABBING IMAGES The right image will explain to potential clients who you are and what your business is all about, in one easy glance. An original image will make you stand out from the crowd. After all, you’re probably not the only business out there who does what you do, and there will be thousands of bland stock photos available that depict something like it. Professional photographers are master’s in visual communication, and through their unique images they’ll help you tell an original story about your business; one that informs, inspires and educates. Most importantly, an original that’s unlike anybody else’s. That’s what gets attention.


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CONSTRUCTION

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MAKE CONSTRUCTION A PRIORITY Chris Davies of DRS wants the British government to take construction more seriously.

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hrinking margins for contractors bidding for public sector contracts are not financially sustainable, DRS Bond Management Managing Director Chris Davies has warned. “Construction is a very competitive industry, particularly on large public infrastructure projects. If you’re operating on negative margins you are going to lose money very quickly; if you’re operating on a margin of less than 3% there’s very little contingency in there.” In a recent survey the top ten groups had an average pre-tax profit margin of minus 0.5%. Lord Andrew Adonis, Chairman of the National Infrastructure Council, said those results showed the public sector was “getting a good deal.” But Chris Davies (pictured here with fellow DRS founder and Joint Managing Director, Fiona Recker) describes Lord Adonis’ reaction as unhelpful. “Across the top 100 companies, the margin is still only 2.8%. Ideally that should be 5%.” The construction sector represents the bulk of DRS business. Other areas include investment grade

FTSE companies requiring letter of credit replacement guarantees and pension deficit guarantees. Construction contributes one pound in every ten to the UK economy and Chris Davies identifies a skills shortage as one of its greatest challenges. He believes construction is not viewed as a priority by the British government as Brexit draws closer. “Sixty percent of site labour in London comes from outside the UK; it’s common to have up to 13 EU nationalities on a site. That skills shortage is only going to widen with Brexit.”

PRECISION

IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD

DRS Bond Management is an acknowledged leader in surety broking, formed with the single-minded objective of delivering a state of the art approach to bond management and surety advisory services. Precision defines DRS, providing certainty to clients through an exacting, reliable and responsive focus. DRS is the trusted surety advisor to leading names in the construction and engineering sectors, as well as other companies in multiple sectors. 020 7471 8710 enquiries@drsbonds.co.uk @DRSBonds

• Performance Bonds; • Retention Bonds; • Advance Payment Bonds; • Highways Bonds; • National House Building Council Bonds; • Bid Bonds; • Duty Deferment Bonds; • Rural Payment Agency (“RPA”) Bonds; • Waste Resources Action Programme (“WRAP”) Bonds; • Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Bonds; • Restoration Bonds; • Letter of Credit (“LOC”) Replacement Guarantees. www.drsbonds.co.uk

DRS Bond Management Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority No. 500737. The Financial Conduct Authority do not regulate all of the products and services we provide. Registered in England and Wales No. 6823289.

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Thanks to our members for helping us build a great community

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MIND THE SKILLS GAP Ardent Tide Director, Dermot O’Grady, on the skills shortage in construction.

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ritain’s construction industry must recruit around 400,000 workers to prevent a worsening skills shortage Dermot O’Grady, Director of CIS compliance company Ardent Tide, has warned. The sector is facing a slowdown but he believes it will still lack good quality tradesmen. “Skilled workers are retiring and younger people are not going into construction so we’re never going to have enough good people.” However, Kerryman Dermot O’Grady believes Ardent Tide is benefitting from the challenges currently facing construction, “Construction companies can’t employ people directly because they have no certainty of work. Skilled workers are now usually self-employed but the lower paid, unskilled people should ideally be employed on PAYE and that’s what we do.”

Dermot O’Grady, who is BITA vice-president, says there are increasing numbers of bogus and illegal workers on British sites, “EU workers are leaving because of the sterling rate and fewer skilled workers are coming into the UK because they no longer feel welcome, so the number of illegals on sites is growing.” His concerns are borne out by recent figures which show that net immigration to the UK fell by a quarter in the year to March 2017, driven by a 59% rise in emigration from the UK by people from eight eastern European countries including Poland. He says the future of construction will depend on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, “Brexit will slow down construction because confidence is low. It makes perfect sense not to allow more unskilled people into Britain. The solution is to control immigration but we need some help on the movement of skilled workers.”


MURPHY SURVEYS Making Precision Reality Since 1983

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urphy Surveys is the leading land and engineering surveying company in the British Isles. Established 30 years ago in Ireland, we have now over 200 employees in Ireland and the UK. We cover many areas of surveying such as BIM, laser scanning, topographic surveys, setting out, monitoring, tunnels, railways, rivers, measured building surveys, utility & GPR and more. At Murphy Surveys, our focus is to get the best people and provide continuous training and career development for them, so that we can deliver superior value to our clients. The majority of our clients have been with us for a long time due to the quality of our work. We constantly invest in the most up-to-date surveying equipment and technology that benefits our clients from both a risk and cost perspective. We have recently received ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 certification. As a company we

have developed a plan to standardise and document processes, train employees and implement our integrated management system. The introduction of the management system has allowed for constant growth and development, with the ability to identify areas for improvement. At Murphy Surveys, our company ethos is very much centred on delivering the most versatile, extensive and price-friendly surveys to both our public and private clients across the world. Surveying isn’t just what we do; our goal is to understand and meet your requirements while ensuring you benefit from the most cost-efficient survey solution to suit your needs. Client commitment and a highly skilled and dedicated staff have driven our growth over the past number of years. In addition, we maintain a superior level in quality control and strive to ensure we deliver the most cuttingedge technology to our clients at all times. Continuous investment in this advanced technology and equipment has ensured repeat business from a satisfied client base. Our aim is to maintain the excellent reputation we’ve worked hard to achieve and at all times, stay ahead of the competition. As one of the most professional, competent and innovative surveying firms in Ireland and the UK, clients can be assured that the service they receive will be of the highest quality. We pride ourselves on maintaining an efficient Quality Control System and our attention to detail is second to none. For these reasons, Murphy Surveys is head and shoulders above its competitors in the market.

UK Head Office 39 – 41 North Road London, N7 9DP, UK T: +44 (0)203 598 3775 E: london@murphysurveys.co.uk W: www.murphysurveys.co.uk

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enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

Measurement Matters Murphy Surveys is the leading land and engineering surveying company in the British Isles. Our aim is to maintain the excellent reputation we’ve worked hard to achieve and always stay ahead of the competition. As one of the most professional, competent and innovative surveying firms in the UK And Ireland, clients can be assured that the service they receive will be of the highest quality.

We Provide •

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

Laser Scanning

Topographic Surveys

Monitoring Solutions

Aerial / UAV Surveys

Measured Building Surveys

Utility and GPR Surveys

Rail Surveys

Site Surveying Services

Established 35 years ago in Ireland, Murphy Surveys have now over 200 employees in Ireland and the UK. We cover many areas of surveying such as BIM, laser scanning, topographic surveys, setting out, monitoring, tunnels, railways, rivers, measured building surveys, utility & GPR and more. At Murphy Surveys, our focus is to get the best people and provide continuous training and career development for them, so that we can deliver superior value to our clients. We constantly invest in the most up-to-date surveying equipment and technology that benefits our clients from both a risk and cost perspective. For these reasons, Murphy Surveys remains head and shoulders above its competitors in the market.

Murphy Surveys | 0203 598 3775 | london@murphysurveys.co.uk | www.murphysurveys.co.uk Dublin | Cork | Kildare | Belfast | London | Manchester | Birmingham | Glasgow | Cologne | Barcelona


enquiries@DRSbonds.co.uk

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