Trade in Irish construction products and services to UK has increased by 68% in the past five years
Enterprise Ireland, the Irish government agency and the third largest seed investor in Europe, has supported the trade of €1.29bn of construction products and services to the UK in 2016, growth that is expected to be further fuelled by the capacity requirements of the UK 2021 National Infrastructure Development Plan. Recent figures released as part of the agency’s Annual Business Review showed another annual increase despite the fluctuating exchange rate, with construction being the largest sector and highest market value of the indigenous Irish industries.
The UK will require over 300,000 new workers to meet predicted demand for the Government-led National Infrastructure Development programme. With ambitions to complete major projects such as HS2, Hinckley Point and an ambitious residential development programme, John Hunt, Senior Market Adviser at Enterprise Ireland, believes collaboration between the UK and Ireland is key.
Building on strong domestic capacity, Ireland’s construction sector produces a diverse array of companies with over a hundred and fifty Enterprise Ireland clients already trading in the UK – providing a vital skills injection. In particular, the UK could benefit from Ireland’s innovation and capability in the off-site construction sector, with innovative companies such as Shay Murtagh, an off-site company providing precast concrete solutions throughout the UK, already providing support on the Crossrail project and the new Mersey Crossing. Other key players in this area include Banagher Precast and Techrete.
Digital design and construction is another key growth area, with over forty Irish companies leading the way in this area, including Roadbridge, who are installing large gas and water pipelines across the UK, Kirby Group a company specialising in high and medium voltage, and Endeco Technologies who provide smart grids and smart energy solutions.
John Hunt, Senior Market Adviser at Enterprise Ireland, commented: “With current economic uncertainty, we expect trade relationships between the UK and Ireland to deepen even further. Ireland has a competitive advantage as an innovation hub in the construction industry, and Irish companies will continue to provide vital capacity, innovation and capability as required for 2021 construction targets”.