1 March 2020
By Bryan Smyth
- Renewable energy set to be biggest growth sector
- 60% of Cork construction workers believe education infrastructure is key to attracting further FDI
- City’s cost of living identified as growth barrier
Cork based global construction consultancy firm AECOM recently launched its annual construction industry review and 2020 outlook in Hayfield Manor, Cork last night. The review is supported by a detailed nationwide industry survey and several interviews with sector leads, analysing the industry outlook and assessing the future direction of Ireland’s infrastructure.
AECOM is predicting a growth of 10% for the construction industry and a price inflation of 3.5% in Cork and other regions, and 5% for Dublin.
Education infrastructure was identified as the most important requirement for attracting future inward investment with almost 60% of Cork respondents highlighting it as such, closely followed by internet provision (53%) and energy (53%). However, almost 30% of Cork’s construction professionals raised concerns about the increased cost of living, highlighting it as the biggest potential barrier to the city attracting FDI.
Climate change mitigation also featured in the review with almost three quarters of Cork respondents valuing it as either extremely or very important to shaping their business model. Alongside this, Cork respondents sent a clear message (79%) that investment in recycling and waste management facilities is needed for companies to fully adopt environmental measures and meet the growing pressures to reduce waste.
Glenn Hanna, Associate Director AECOM Cork said, “A 10% growth of construction output across the country is extremely positive, and potentially more so for areas such as Cork and other regional locations. We feel Cork has the capacity to deliver more in terms of construction output considering that we had 25 Tower Cranes on Corks skyline in 2006 and now we have 8. Bear in mind, one site in Dublin has 9 Tower Cranes. Attracting and retaining employees has been a challenge in Dublin and we are seeing companies increasingly look towards regions outside of Dublin to alleviate some of the pressures associated with the capital.”
“FDI has proved instrumental in the development of Cork City and its surroundings with the region being home to many multi-national companies and earning its reputation as one of Europe’s most attractive small cities to invest in.”
“Education infrastructure as well as internet provision and energy is essential to maintaining a functioning FDI strategy. Access to high-speed broadband is an absolute necessity for businesses and communities to thrive and I am hopeful that the National Broadband Plan will play a significant role in connecting communities in the rural parts of the southern region.”
“We are pleased to see that such a majority of businesses are seriously considering the impact construction can have on our environment and the eagerness to adopt climate mitigation measures – an intelligent move considering prospective tax measures and plans to incentivise companies to move towards carbon-neutral operations.”
“The previous government set an ambitious target in its Climate Action Plan that 70% of our energy would come from renewable sources by 2030. To achieve this, immediate investment in the energy sector is crucial and Cork is a prime example of a suitable location for offshore wind and solar projects particularly because of its southern, coastal position”.