Skills shortages, rapid cost inflation, planning, utility connections, sustainability … there are many issues facing the homebuilding sector today in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland engaged with nearly 100 companies in the industry, in one-to-one and group settings to try to understand how we could support the industry to innovate and become more productive.
A clear outcome from these consultations was an opportunity for increasing the number of homes built using offsite methodologies and for increasing the Pre Manufactured Value of homes.
We undertook this work as Enterprise Ireland has been tasked under the Housing for All Plan to provide supports aimed at reducing the cost of residential construction. The Plan sees a target of 33,000 homes to be built per annum over the next 10 years. This will require €12billion each year, including €4billion coming from the State.
With construction price inflation already a concern, the Plan has included a number of measures to try and ensure that homebuilding remains economically viable. In a similar vein a Construction Technology Centre will be launched this summer to work with the industry on common innovation challenges.
These initiatives come at an exciting time for the industry. The availability of skills and the volume of work ahead poses huge challenges. What we have learnt from other sectors is that innovation is often most active when industry is tested – there are numerous examples of how work practices in the construction industry rapidly evolved over the past two years due to Covid.
Implementing new digital tools has become more accessible and acceptable than ever before. There is also growing awareness of the benefits that lean systems such as the Last Planner can bring to construction site management.
We know that the homebuilding industry has many brilliant people and companies already delivering excellent projects. Our challenge to them is to see if we can help them take it one step further.
The suite of supports that are now available under the Built to Innovate initiative aim to help companies in the homebuilding sector to:
- Enhance usage and implementation of Modern Methods of Construction,
- Implement Lean training in both manufacturing and onsite environments,
- Improving the use of digital tools that can bring productivity benefits,
- Fund research into concepts or process innovation ideas.
The nature of these grants are staged so that we can support companies that are at an early stage of exploring the above areas as well as companies that might be further along in their journey.
For more information on Enterprise Ireland’s Built To Innovate Initiative, eligibility and to get the support you need to drive MMC visit: enterprise-ireland.com/builttoinnovate or speak to one of our specialist construction advisers.
To be eligible for supports businesses must:
- Be Irish companies with a minimum of 10 full time employees,
- Construction services and manufacturing companies that have a minimum of 20% of revenue derived from home building.
Projects seeking grant funding will be assessed as follows:
- For productivity projects, the project to be undertaken must involve a new process or a significant improvement to an existing process which can demonstrate an impact on the cost of home building in Ireland.
- For Innovation projects, the project must result in a new product or process which will have a demonstrable impact on the cost of home building in Ireland.