Grant Thornton Construction Conference hears calls for innovation

Collaboration, long term planning and innovation will bring greater success

The fifth annual Grant Thornton Construction Conference took place at Croke Park Conference Centre on Wednesday, 22 March. About 400 delegates attended the event and heard presentations on the theme of ‘Sustainability and Innovation’.

Speakers & panelists at Grant Thornton Construction Conference

Speakers at the Grant Thornton Construction Conference included key-note speaker John Moran (Board Member of the

European Investment Bank

, MD of RHH International, and former Secretary of the Department of Finance) who spoke about Future Proofing’ Ireland’s Infrastructure.

Other speakers and panel members included Oliver O’Connor (Head of Construction, Grant Thornton) Dominic Doheny (President, Construction Industry Federation), Claire Solon (Head of Property, Friends First and SCI President), Pat Gilroy, (MD, The Designer Group and former Dublin GAA footballer and manager), Marian Finnegan (Chief Economist, Sherry Fitzgerald), Michael Browne (Director, Collen Construction), Paul Mitchell (Director, Mitchell McDermott), Mark Kellett (CEO, Magnet Networks), Paddy McElligott, (Director, Activate Capital), Darragh Ó Sé (Auctioneer, Daly O Sé Properties and former Kerry GAA footballer) and Darragh Moloney (RTE Sport).


Irish construction output in 2016 in excess of €14bn


Opening the conference Oliver O’Connor, Head of Construction at Grant Thornton said during 2016

  • Construction output was in excess of €14bn
  • Employment in the sector was up 15%
  • In excess of €11bn in planning permissions were granted
  • In excess of 11bn in planning applications were submitted
  • €2bn worth of commercial planning applications were submitted
  • 16,000 residential units were granted planning
  • 13,000 residential units moved onsite, of which 6,500, just under half, were in Dublin
  • €750m worth of industrial development moved onsite.

He added that during 2017, 330,000-sq m of commercial property development will be completed.

Grant Thornton Construction Conference

Ten year infrastructure plan needed

Speaking as part of a panel discussion, CIF President, Dominic Doheny said that the country is in an infrastructure crisis at the moment and called for a 10-year “Cross-Government, multi-party sustainable infrastructure plan to be put place. He also said that SME’s in the regions will not survive unless long term infrastructure plans are put in place.”

Collaborative approach to project management

During his presentation Designer Group MD Pat Gilroy outlined how his company’s innovative and collaborative approach during the downturn helped it survive and develop new business streams. He said that if project teams took a more collaborative approach to project management, bring in all stakeholders at an earlier stage, and use tools such as those provided by BIM and Lean, this will lead to even greater project success.

Collen’s Michael Browne outlined how embracing offsite solutions can help companies overcome the tradesperson deficit in the market.


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