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ISSUE 5 2020

FOR UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS LOG ON TO www.irishconstruction.com

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‘TIME TO BREAK WITH BOOM AND BUST CYCLE’ TACKLING IRELAND’S HOUSING CRISIS AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEFICIT ARE TOP OF THE AGENDA FOR THE NEW SCSI PRESIDENT, MICHEÁL MAHON

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL Linesight analyses the industry’s performance over the past 12 months and asks, what can we expect in 2021?

EASY ORDERING

30

YEARS of

IRISH construction industry

MAGAZINE

A new e-Commerce system lets contractors host their very own internal ‘Amazon’

ONE SIZE FITS ALL?

A look at the repercussions that Covid-19 is having on construction contracts


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30

YEARS of

IRISH construction 

MAGAZINE

Letter from THE EDITOR This month’s issue of Irish Construction Industry Magazine includes an interview with the SCSI’s new President, Micheál Mahon, a chartered quantity surveyor who is calling on the government to work towards breaking with the failed boom and bust cycle of the past. Now’s the time, he says, to embark on a public housebuilding programme and for the government to examine the balance of the overall construction sector output. In his one-year term as President, Micheál is determined to collaborate with all parties to drive down the costs of house prices. The SCSI is, he says, ready and willing to play its part in addressing this vital issue. Read more about his priorities as President on page 23. Linesight Director Stephen Ashe offers his expert opinion on the performance of the Irish construction industry over the past year and asks, what can we expect over the coming months? In 2019, total investment in building and construction grew by an estimated 11% to €27 billion. However, it could decrease by up to 35% in 2020 due to a fall in public and private sector investment, says Stephen, to reach in the region of €17.9 billion. It’s not all bad news though; some sectors are performing better than others and in terms of recovery, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. For more on Linesight’s market commentary, turn to page 29. Also for this issue, we caught up with John Kyne, founder of new e-Commerce system Prockure. The platform, which allows construction firms to host their very own ‘Amazon’, makes ordering easy by syncing with all construction ERP/accounting systems and ensuring orders get to site much quicker. For more on how Prockure works, turn to page 36. If you have any comments or opinions, we’d love to hear from you – email denise@mcdmedia.ie

Denise Maguire P.S. Don’t forget to join Irish Construction Industry Magazine on Linkedin and share your messages with our platforms. Irish Construction Industry Magazine

Publisher: MCD Media Ltd. Managing Editor: Michael McDonnell michael@mcdmedia.ie Editor: Denise Maguire denise@mcdmedia.ie

Subscriptions & Circulation, Accounts/Administration: Linda Doran accounts@mcdmedia.ie Production & Design: Catherine Kelleher catherine@mcdmedia.ie 1st Floor, 103 Newtown Park, Malahide Road Industrial Park, Coolock, Dublin 17.

Telephone: 01 8482286 Mobile: 087 4184353 Email:michael@mcdmedia.ie www.mcdmedia.ie www.irishconstruction.com

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© 2020. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. The views and opinions contained in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. The publishers do not accept responsibility for accuracy, errors or omissions in articles or advertisements, or for unsolicited reports or photographs. Reference in this publication to commercial products, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by Irish Construction Industry Magazine. The views and opinions of authors and contributors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Irish Construction Industry Magazine nor does it assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information contained or submitted.

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ISSUE 5 2020 1


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CONTENTS

News & Industry Analysis 4 News

10

A look at what’s been happening in Ireland’s construction industry

12 The impacts of Covid-19

14

A new report shows a quarter of UK and Irish building contractors have reported cancellations or suspensions of projects due to Covid-19 restrictions

14 Energy news

A look at what’s happening in Ireland’s energy sector

Features

18 Tech Talks

18

Kingspan Group’s Director of Digital, Louise Foody, explains why digital is key to doing business today

20 Mind the (generation) gap

New research is showing a generational increase in the number of female engineering graduates

21 Ulster Bank PMI

26

New orders rise for first time in three months

23 Interview

Chartered Quantity Surveyor Micheál Mahon has big plans for his term as SCSI President

29 Light at the end of the tunnel

As we near the final quarter of 2020, Linesight Director Stephen Ashe reviews the performance of the Irish construction industry and asks, what can we expect over the coming months?

24

36 Technology

A new e-Commerce system allows construction firms to host their very own internal ‘Amazon’

38 Legal

Eoin Cassidy, Partner at Mason Hayes & Curran, takes a look at the repercussions that Covid-19 is having on construction contracts

40 Spotlight

42

Finance Director at Select Roofing Ltd, Theodora Dimova, chats to ICIM about the impact Covid-19 is having on the business

42 Irish Concrete Society Awards

Excellence in concrete design and construction was celebrated at this year’s event, with Galway’s Pálás Cinema scooping the top award

46 Technical

Sika has just launched SikaBit VMS, an engineered roofing solution that’s ideal for refurbishment projects www.irishconstruction.com

30

YEARS of

IRISH construction 

MAGAZINE

www.planonline.ie

Want news updates fast and to your PC or device? Sign up for our newsletter and stay informed and up-to-date email: catherine@mcdmedia.ie

46 ISSUE 5 2020 3


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INTERVIEW

“IT’S TIME TO BREAK WITH THE FAILED BOOM AND BUST CYCLE OF THE PAST”

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I’m absolutely unapologetic in saying that the country needs a viable and productive construction industry and I’m trying to get that message across. We were so politically unpalatable before; as an industry you couldn’t even be seen to talk to the construction industry after the last crash

30

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IRISH construction 

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MARKET COMMENTARY

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL

AS WE NEAR THE FINAL QUARTER OF 2020 AND BEGIN TO REALISE THE 'NEW NORMAL’ OF COVID-19, LINESIGHT DIRECTOR STEPHEN ASHE REVIEWS THE PERFORMANCE OF THE IRISH CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY AND ASKS, WHAT CAN WE EXPECT OVER THE COMING MONTHS?

www.irishconstruction.com

ISSUE 5 2020 29


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FOCUS ON… ECHOCHECK ACOUSTIC BLOCK

TECHNICAL

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Since September 2017, the pupils and staff of St Bronagh’s primary school have enjoyed their learning and teaching in a new school building with associated amenities and facilities. With the backdrop of Slievemeen mountain and the proximity of Carlingford Lough as influential planning considerations, the architectural practice of d-on architects Ltd began its work in 2014 designing and creating a contemporary, fit for purpose school, at one with its landscape, yet conceived to overcome the challenges of a narrow-elongated site. The pupils of St Bronagh’s have a long tradition of championing environmental improvement projects, including the monitoring of swifts nesting in the swift boxes that have now been integrated into the external walls of the school. The school enjoys both Ambassador Eco-School and Green Flag status. Its’ own ECO council works tirelessly to maintain an eco-friendly building. It was no surprise then when d-on architects chose Colinwell’s EchoCheck Acoustic Block, which is manufactured from 65% recycled aggregates for the interior of the school’s multi-purpose hall. The selection further affirmed the primary school’s own green credentials, while satisfying the requirements of TGD-021-5 and most importantly creating a quieter and more pleasant space. By choosing Colinwell’s EchoCheck Acoustic Block, the architectural practice d-on architects affirmed that “the acoustics in the multi-purpose hall were softened and incorporated into patterns on each wall and acoustic quilt above the suspended radiant heating panels. The acoustic blocks gave a robust wall finish with the additional benefit of built-in sound absorption.” Paul McMahon, project architect with d-on architects, explained that he and his design team worked with a “nucleus of people with a single goal in mind; to create a wonderful new building for the pupils, staff and community in Rostrevor.” He added: “The building is inspired by the amazing landscape surrounding Rostrevor. The school form responds to the landscape and introduces a sedum roof which provides an additional green space for wildlife on a site that was once covered with tarmacadam. The teaching spaces are located to capture the views across Kilbroney Park and the mountains. Natural light is provided to all teaching spaces by large areas of glazing and roof lights. The exposed timber ceilings in the classrooms create spaces that are airy and welcome.” HOW COLINWELL ECHOCHECK ACOUSTIC BLOCKS WORK…

coefficient, will have a factor between 1 and 0, with 1 being complete sound absorption and 0 being full reflection. The table shows the Absorption Coefficient of commonly used construction materials and finishes.

The Colinwell EchoCheck Acoustic Block, with a fair face/paint grade finish, eliminates the need for either visually obtrusive or imposed compromises such as panels, screens or curtains which are prone to damage and can potentially interfere with some games. The Colour Palette for EchoCheck Acoustic Blocks comprises 16 colours, all of which can be seen on the Colinwell Masonry site colinwell.com Colinwell EchoCheck Blocks are: • Fire resistant and load bearing • Robust • Maintenance free • Able to withstand frequent impact The Colinwell EchoCheck Acoustic Block is suitable for use in many construction applications including: • Plant rooms • Classrooms • Lecture theatres • Sound barriers [Road and Rail] • Gymnasiums • Swimming pools • Arenas

30

The Colinwell EchoCheck Acoustic Block allows design teams to address sound control issues and to provide a low maintenance Fair-Face finish in one product. The rate of sound energy absorbed by any surface, known as the absorption

MAGAZINE

www.irishconstruction.com

YEARS of

IRISH construction 

ISSUE 5 2020 39


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SAFETY

SAFETY FIRST AT WESTPORT EQUIPMENT

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art of the drive behind Westport Equipment is to bring products to contractors which enhance safety and at the same time deliver value through efficiency and innovation. Liam Brew and the team behind the new business are delighted to bring the unrivalled range of Rolling Tower Products from Layher to the equipment rental market in Ireland. The German Layher brand stands for safety and quality. Sourcing with manufacturers like these assures hire customers that Westport Equipment can deliver safe, high quality engineered products at scale to meet their deadlines. The range currently available for hire at the new company’s Dunboyne Depot includes the unique Solo tower for safe one person use, providing a working height of up to 6.15m on a compact platform of 0.75 by 1.13m. The permissible live load is 2kN/m2 which is in scaffolding group 3. This is provided in an ergonomic product that’s easy to store and offers full P2 safety during assembly and removal. The Tower complies fully to the DIN EN 1004 standard for mobile work platforms, offering peace of mind associated with European manufacture and standards. Also offered are the Uni Wide and Uni Standard (Double and Single Width) Towers which can provide more height and working area. The Uni Standard is ideal for use for work on walls and ceilings during maintenance and construction in technical facilities, high tech

30

YEARS of

IRISH construction 

MAGAZINE

www.irishconstruction.com

manufacturing locations, data centres, factories and warehouses, both inside and outside. The system offers working heights of 13m on a platform of 0.75m by 2.85m with live loads of 2kN/m2 (Scaffolding Group 3). The system comprises aluminium ladder frames, colour coded guard rails and diagonals with push fit assembly, non-slip work decks with plywood insert (BFU 100), access decks for risk free internal access and sturdy castors with concentric load transmission for outstanding stability when locked and levelled. Telescopic bases are also available to allow off set assemblies. The Uni Wide offers all these features and a greater working area of 1.5m by 2.85m with the ladder frames being the only component that is not in common between the two towers, allowing great flexibility if multiple configurations are required on the same job site. Liam Brew of Westport Equipment said: “There are many companies manufacturing low cost towers and driving down costs through the removal of durability from their products. The Layher range that we have invested in is ideal for a rental business that wants to offer quality products that are fully tested and certified and offer high solution flexibility from a component driven system. Replacement parts and backup support will be available, offering a lower cost of ownership over the lifetime of the product compared to other systems on the market. At Westport Equipment, standards are always the priority; all our rolling towers and assembly scaffolding

conform to DIN EN 1004. Inspections by independent institutions such as TÜV and the professional trade associations with the GS symbol are a guarantee of this. We look forward to continued investment in our fleet of

towers as demand increases and we will continue to service the construction of high tech manufacturing with our leading edge products.” Contact sales@westportequipment.com

ISSUE 5 2020 45


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TECHNICAL

FOCUS ON… SIKABIT

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S

ika’s latest innovation is a safe and secure solution specifically created for roof refurbishments. Called ‘SikaBit VMS’, the new system is a single layer product, manufactured with grooves to control and allow for trapped moisture that may be in the existing system. According to Stuart Murray, Sika’s Business Development Manager – Bitumen, SikaBit VMS is effective, easy to install, requires no demolition and is ideal for all seasons. “This is a unique product from Sika in that it’s offering a solution for the refurbishment market. No demolition is required so from a contractor’s point of view, it’s great as there’s no need to strip an existing roof, thereby reducing cost and waste to landfill,” said Stuart. SikaBit VMS can be used for the refurbishment and upgrade of an old roof, terrace and balconies. It’s perfect for flat or pitched roofs up to a 15% gradient and it also adheres to the most common bases including ceramic floors, tiles, cement, metal and wood surfaces, existing asphalt and bitumen membranes. One of the new product’s main advantages is its vapour management system. SikaBit VMS includes strips on the underside to diffuse any water vapour and prevent blistering. The strips – around 40% of the membrane surface – guarantee better adhesion and consequently higher resistance to wind uplift. The remaining 60% is not adhered, creating free space for improved diffusion of water vapour and preventing the formation of bubbles from residual moisture.

46 ISSUE 5 2020

The product is available in two versions – the SikaBit VMS heatadhesive membranes and the SikaBit VMS self-adhesive membranes. The former is made of a special adhesive compound that is activated by heat, which provides a strong, safe and

long-lasting semi adhesive bond to the base. The self-adhesive membranes are made with a bitumen blend (SBS), reinforced with a composite non-woven polyester with fibre glass that improves it performance, mechanical strength and dimensional stability. In both versions, 40% of the underside of the membrane is covered with strips for

better adhesion and higher resistance to wind than the current solutions on the market, such as perforated screens. The distance between the strips also ensures an efficient distribution of mechanical strain and prevents any splits in the old covering from growing. The same pattern of strips on the face of the membrane, the SikaBit VMS “BS” type, gives excellent bonding – strong and elastic to EPS and PIR insulation panels, even at temperatures close to zero. No additional products are required, such as adhesives or cold or melted bitumen. Although SikaBit VMS only hit the market a few weeks ago, the response from customers has been extremely positive. “We’ve had a really good uptake so far. Clients can see the benefits associated with the new product. It’s quick and easy to install by an approved contractor and it’s fully certified under the Sika guarantee system. For complete peace of mind, we would recommend that customers avail of the Sika surveying service to ensure suitability.” SIKABIT VMS – THE BENEFITS FAST APPLICATION – no demolition or disposal of the existing base (subject to condition survey) SURFACE PREPARATION – using Sika Igolflex P-10 Primer, during all seasons CRACK RESISTANT – for exterior and interior use VERSATILE – available in two versions: heat-adhesive and self-adhesive READY FOR TILES – tiles can be placed directly onto the membrane (MG type) NO EXTRA FIXATION NEEDED FOR INSULATION PANELS – can be bonded without special adhesives or mechanical fixation (BS type) www.irishconstruction.com

30

YEARS of

IRISH construction 

MAGAZINE


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ARE YOU READY TO ELECTRIFY YOUR CAREER?

A self-starter with drive and determination, the ability to work as part of a team and excellent communication skills. You want to be part of a dynamic team that works together to deliver results. No two days are ever the same. You will work with a committed, enthusiastic and experienced team and be guided by a highly experienced Manager. You will be provided with support & development throughout the project. It’s a fast paced, process driven environment where teamwork is key to success. Jones Engineering offer competitive salaries, opportunities to work abroad, continuous training and development, comprehensive graduate training programmes and financial support for further training. Just some of the benefits you will receive include; a great social network, rotation of work, staff team building, regular career development

reviews, pension scheme, in-house training, mentoring, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) leading to chartered status, performance incentives and the ability to progress your career with a world class engineering contractor. Jones Engineering have over 130 years’ experience as a world class engineering contractor. They aim to recruit, train and retain the best and brightest in the industry. If that sounds like you then it’s time you apply to join their team of over 3,500 employees working in Ireland, UK, Europe and the Middle East. Their core divisions include Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Sprinkler and Fire Protection. Some of the other services they provide for private, public and government clients include Waste to Energy (BioEnergy), Specialist Lift, Off Site Fabrication, Technical Support Services, Maintenance, Asset Management, BIM (Building Information Modelling) and Geo-Surveying.

As part of European Vocational Skills Week, the Belfast Metropolitan College led digital construction project BIMcert will provide free upskilling in a webinar on Thursday. The fifth edition of the European Vocational Skills Week is a 100% online event organised by the European Commission in cooperation with the German Presidency of the Council of the European Union. A series of partner activities will take place digitally across the EU. This year’s theme is VET (Vocational Education and Training) for Green and Digital Transitions, in line with the Commission priorities of a “European Green Deal” and a “Europe fit for the digital age”. BIM (Building Information Modelling) is a modern digital technology supporting the sustainability targets of the construction sector, and with

increased efficiencies being proven throughout all areas of the construction lifecycle companies are now adopting BIM training. Thursdays webinar will demonstrate to users how to access the digital platform to ensure rapid beyond blended upskilling. The webinar will also detail how users can access free BIMcert modules to learn key terms and definitions regarding BIM and how to use the cloud and mobile digital devices to access digital information. During the current COVID-19 crisis digital online training

Are you ready to Electrify Your Career? Jones Engineering are recruiting for a range of electrical positions for projects in Ireland and mainland Europe. These range from Graduate Electrical Engineers right up to Electrical Contracts Managers.

FREE BIMCERT BIM UPSKILLING

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IRISH construction 

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SPECIFIER

Jones Engineering are an equal opportunities employer. Their employees have an average of 20 years’ service. They have an annual training budget of €2million and encourage all our employees to attend internal and external training courses on a regular basis. To read more about Jones Engineering check out their website www.joneseng.com How to Apply To apply send your CV to Amy Coyle Email: acoyle@joneseng.com Phone: 01 4749800

has become more important than ever before and BIMcert is a repository of accessible online learning materials. European Vocational Skills Week itself is a national event where organisations showcase the best of vocational education and training. Issue 5 2020 47


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SPECIFIER

RMD KWIKFORM PROVIDES GROUNDWORKS SUPPORT FOR PUMPING STATION EXCAVATION

The construction of a new pumping station is underway to alleviate flood risks to a new housing development in Beverley, East Yorkshire. Construction is being led by civil engineering contractor Kitchen Civils and supported by RMD Kwikform’s Ground Shoring division. In order to excavate the 14.8m by 10.6m cofferdam, RMD Kwikform provided its 390 and 550 Geobrace hydraulic bracing system combined with its Tubeshor 610 hybrid props. The works included the construction of two wet well pumping stations and associated inlet chambers. Initially, these were to be constructed within their own separate excavations. However, following further site investigation it became clear the ground was very weak and a higher groundwater level was present. To make installation of both the temporary works and the construction of the permanent works easier, it was decided to build both pumping stations in one larger excavation. This reduced the number of frames required, reduced installation time, and it made the control of groundwater easier. Due to the larger plan size of the excavation and the poor ground conditions, RMD Kwikform’s Geobrace with Tubeshor products provided the optimum solution to support predriven interlocked sheet piles. Geobrace and Tubeshor Hydraulic systems are quick to install as the pinned connections enable faster and easier building of the frames on site, and there is no need for any on-site

welding or cutting so waste is eliminated. The complimentary Tubeshor range was used to provide corner knee bracing which maximised the clear open areas within the excavation. With many tubular props on the market, pressure exerted from the ground is carried by the hydraulic ram throughout the whole period of install. Therefore, whilst the excavation is open all the pressure is on the hydraulic lock off valve. A key feature of the Tubeshor 610 prop, in addition to the Hydraulic lock off, is the mechanical lock off mechanism that carries the load. This feature allows the hydraulic ram to be depressurised, basically turning the prop into a mechanical prop, giving the customer several safety benefits. Simon Quibell, Construction Director at Kitchen Civils, said: “The

An interactive design tool aimed at saving customers the time and effort involved in obtaining temporary works designs for standard solutions, has been launched by excavation support specialists, Groundforce Shorco. Developed by Groundforce’s technical, sales and marketing teams, this easy to use programme provides customers with a simple step-by-step process in obtaining standard solutions for their excavation requirements, with access available 24/7 on mobile devices and desktops directly from the Groundforce website. All designs created are then made available for the customer to access in the Groundforce Technical Library and fully integrated with the

Groundforce Shorco sales team, so they can assist with any element of the design. Andrew Lowe, Head of Engineering Design said: “With construction projects run to tight budgets and timescales, contractors are constantly looking for efficiencies. By creating YourSolution, it allows our customers to be able to quickly specify our excavation support equipment with confidence. With it’s easy to use interface, YourSolution takes the user through a straightforward step-bystep process, to quickly generate a fully documented temporary works design in line with the requirements of BS5975. “With YourSolution, our customers have quick access to our

ground conditions on site are very poor and the water table is also very high – this is quite typical around the Hull and Beverley area. We worked closely with RMD Kwikform to change the initial proposal; it wouldn’t have been practical to have two excavations. “The GeoBrace and Tubeshor propping system has been very efficient and robust in supporting the one excavation. As it’s a hydraulic system, we’ve been able to extend the prop and mechanically lock off the cross struts – this has given us peace of mind in regard to safety on site, and reliability.” For more information on RMD Kwikform Groundworks equipment, visit

www.rmdkwikform.com/systems/groun d-shoring

GROUNDFORCE SHORCO LAUNCHES YOURSOLUTION, A STANDARD EXCAVATION DESIGN TOOL

48 ISSUE 5 2020

suite of standard solutions 24/7, which also makes it ideal for out of hours emergency works. I’m tremendously proud of the system that our team have developed and am confident that our customers will recognise the benefits that YourSolution will bring to their organisation.” Full details of YourSolution can be found on the Groundforce website. www.vpgroundforce.com

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IRISH construction  www.irishconstruction.com

MAGAZINE


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Issue 5 2020

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