More than half of companies (54%) using Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) don’t believe the right skills are currently available in Ireland, according to new research report launched by the Construction Professionals Skillnet.
MMC covers different types of construction which involves significant portions, or all, of the building being manufactured in a factory setting and joined together on-site. It includes modern construction technology and methodologies that improve productivity, particularly off-site construction.
MMC can significantly reduce the time required to complete a construction project and improve safety and reduce waste. The report notes that off-site manufacture minimises environmental impact and disruption on-site, while products can be more easily tested to the relevant standards which significantly increases sustainability and energy efficiency.
There are over 100 companies using MMC in Ireland, with 27 currently providing complete housing solutions to the Irish construction sector. The significant unmet demand for housing makes this offsite manufacturing model particularly attractive.
MMC – vital for growth in the sector
According to PJ Rudden, Chair of the Construction Sector Group, modern methods of construction are vital for the growth of the construction industry and the development of the economy.
He said: “As we face increasing pressures across the country to scale up the levels of construction activity, utilising MMC will be an essential component in the advancement of building activity. We need to create an environment that nurtures and promotes MMC and that is why the findings of this report are so important.”
Tom Parlon, Director General of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), commented: “As well as reducing delivery time, there are many additional benefits to MMC including improved safety and waste reduction. The CIF, through the Construction Professionals Skillnet, is looking forward to working with the construction off-site manufacturers, policy makers and education and training providers to develop relevant solutions which will enhance the sectors ability to meet the Government’s ambitious targets, as well as the broader commercial requirements of our economy.”
Talent development frameworks essential
Discussing the research, Paul Healy, Chief Executive at Skillnet Ireland, said: “Skillnet Ireland is working with the Construction Professionals Skillnet to help build Ireland’s MMC capability and support the delivery of both the National Development Plan and Housing for All strategy. The insights in this report will enable the construction industry to develop talent frameworks and new upskilling programmes to build sustainable businesses that enable innovation and the adoption of new technologies.”
Recommendations The report outlines recommendations for both those involved in MMC and education and training providers to address the skills challenges of using MMC. The recommendations include:
- Promoting a culture of innovation, MMC technology understanding and mentoring.
- Creating a MMC professional development path and MMC skills matrix.
- Identifying the core MMC skill set with details on competencies required.
- Identify the most appropriate broad solutions for the competencies identified.
- Working with education and training providers on the development of appropriate provision at all levels.
- Promoting MMC to career guidance counsellors throughout the education system and to 3rd level students during career fairs.