What To Expect From Construction In 2024

Season 3, EP 6

What To Expect From Construction in 2024

Show Notes

Welcome to a special End Of Year episode of the Time & Materials Podcast, where we look back at the best advice from our guests in 2023, and see where they predict the construction industry will go in 2024.

Featuring Special Guests:

Sarah Crawley & John Ryan | Symterra

Lucas Carstens | Modulize

Gaynor Tennant | Offsite Alliance & Modularize

Jonny Cooper | Steering Point

Conor Walsh | Encon

Sinead Lew & Kevin Brady | PwC & APNA

Colm McHugh | Construct Innovate

Paddy Carroll | Carroll Estimating


What Is The State of Digital Transformation In Construction? | Sarah Crawley and John Ryan, SymTerra

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

We started this year off with great friends of ours in John Ryan and Sarah Crawley from SymTerra.

John and Sarah are similar stories to the LiveCosts story, essentially, in that they come from a construction background, they’ve lived and breathed the problems that they’re trying to solve.

So we went to London and we sat down with John and Sarah.

One of the first questions that we had is to try and get a sense over where they felt the industry was going from a technical point of view. Let’s start off there.

Let’s jump into the question we asked John and Sarah around how they feel the industry is travelling along with this digital transformation.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

Where do you feel the industry is at in terms of we hear this digital adoption, digital transformation – they’re the buzzwords that are around the moment.

We don’t see it. We feel at our end of the market, and I say our end of the market, we just deal with the customers that are 50 staff, maybe 200 staff, probably maximum that type.

But that’s where we play. And we still feel that we’re very early.

How do you feel the industry is positioned, let’s say, for digital transformation?

John Ryan, Symterra

So I come from mega projects. So we’ve got hundreds of millions to spend and splash around and stuff. We have innovation managers and we’ve got Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Dynamics all over the place. And drones.

The thing is, they’re all in the storage cupboard because the young fellow we hired or the young girl that came on the grad scheme is now gone and nobody can work the dog anymore.

And the drones were nice and we took a video and then we didn’t use it again because we just use that video for planning. And it looks nice to explain to residents where we’re going to dig things and do things and put railway, etc, and then we put it away.

And it’s nice and it’s shiny.

And it’s like that toy you get for Christmas.

You have it on Christmas Day and the batteries run out on Stevens’s Day or Boxing Day since we’re in UK.

And you don’t get new batteries and it just sits there on the shelf and you don’t use it again because it just was nice, it was cool, it was exciting, but it never lasted.

And I think we’re seeing a lot of that fancy shiny stuff in the big, big projects that’s showing off the can do, the what ifs, the big dream stuff because we can afford them and we can put 50, 100 grand on something and not even miss it.

And that’s great because we can really showcase the best of offsite manufacturing, digital twins, drone technology, robotics, everything. And there is going to be a future for a lot of this and 3D printing.

But we then don’t use a lot of that afterwards because the value add is missing. So once it looks like the big projects have got this and everybody’s been left behind, I don’t think that’s the case.

I think getting the basics right in the industry and building a solid foundation on which to build, I think it’s taking that’s going to be more of a learning. And I think as we go into recession, the fancy stuff that just isn’t adding value to the project team isn’t making us work faster or safer.

That’s going to start disappearing off.

And whatever is left is going to be the solid technology that’s going to be coming forward for the next decade.

What Can Offsite Construction Learn From Other Industries? | Lucas Carstens, Modulize

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

Interesting to hear John using the word recession there because if we think back to earlier on the year, there was quite a lot of talk that that was inevitable. That’s the way we were going to go. And it didn’t quite happen.

I’d say we finished year strong. There’s a bit of uncertainty out there, but most companies I talk to are still quite positive. So it was really interested to hear where the mindsets were early in the year to probably where we are now. I still feel there’s still a lot of positive things happening in the industry.

We then spun on to another friend, Lucas Carson, the CEO and co-founder of Modulize.

Although modular construction and off-site construction is gaining momentum, I would say it’s definitely still not looked at as the primary method of construction, but an interesting question I wanted to ask Lucas is, how or what can modular learn from other industries that can be deployed to that method of construction?

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

What can offsite learn from looking at other industries?

Lucas Carstens, Modulize

That’s a really good question. I feel like some of it, and I think, Gerry talked about that as well, but I think also with his background, I think some of it is how you present it.

We see the offsite construction market on the supply side is super, super fragmented and lots and lots of SMEs, say, 20 to 200 employees. It’s very difficult to get to any consistent storytelling or branding for the real benefits and the real upside of offsite construction when it is so fragmented.

That’s also one of the things that we’re trying to explore. How can we actually build a consistent story around offsite construction that really conveys the benefits? Then I think other industries have probably done a better job and have come further in that.

And then I’m sure there’s tonnes of other things to learn.

Some of it, I think, goes back. I was never technically in finance, but I was involved in building products for finance. I think the willingness to just look at data and trust it and go, Okay, there is a quantitatively right decision to make.

I think we can also get better at that, where I think a lot of it is still, because data is often lacking and so much of it is rightly so trust-based, but there are ways of just being more quantitative about things and saying, “Here, this type of project, we will save you this and this and that, say, on the footprint, the amount of waste that we produce delivery time, and then actually, to your point, deliver on that.”

I think to really quantify these things, we’ve talked to some manufacturers that I have a pretty good sense that they’re doing an amazing job at not producing a lot of waste in their factory, but they don’t measure it.

They have a very clear USP that they could just put data behind and say, “Hey, we produce, say, 3% of cuts in this factory, rather than whatever number you have on site when you just deliver the beans, that’s potentially huge.”

But for that to make any impact, you need to measure it and be really precise about it.

How Can We Get Traditional Construction Companies To Embrace Modular? | Gaynor Tennant, Offsite Alliance / Modularize

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

We then rolled on to the next episode where we kept the modular theme going and we invited Gaynor Tennant on who is the chair of the Offsite Alliance. And one of the questions I wanted to ask was a similar theme to how we spoke with similar conversations we had with Lucas.

And it was really around what needs to be done to convince traditional construction companies to try modular construction as their preferred method of construction.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

What do we need to do to get our developers to get our builders to be looking at modular as a preferred method of construction?

Gaynor Tennant, Offsite Alliance / Modularize

I think it’s about breaking it down for them. And you’ve got to start at the why. So why are you trying to shift what you’re doing now to where you need to be? And I think we’re very fortunate that we’ve got, well, unfortunate, unfortunate at the same time that we’ve got lots of crises in the sector.

So the skills crisis, the productivity crisis, the sustainability and climate change crisis, we’ve got all these tipping points at the moment and they’re the tipping points that will ultimately shift us because we’ll have to change. There’s no way we can carry on doing what we’re doing.

So it’s about the “Why”. And you have to start with asking yourself, right, well, I’m struggling for labour on here, so what I might try and do is simplify the number of components in my building in order to make that assembly a bit more efficient. So it might not necessarily be modular that you’re going to go to, it might be that you’re going to put bathroom pods in your development or you’re going to look at facade systems in a different way rather than bricks. There’s lots and lots of different ways to make that change, but it’s about starting with the why.

It’s about getting that MMC Consultant appointed from the early days. If you’re going to go down the offsite route, start at stage zero, it can’t come soon enough, because they will know how to optimise that system. They will know where the benefits are. And I think it’s really important that ‘why’ question. We need to look at what is value, why are you doing what you’re doing and what value do you want to drive from this particular site? And that’s really overlooked.

We’re on race to the bottom in costs and nobody’s thinking about the bigger picture here and what we can give back.

Lessons in High Performance from Elite Sport | Jonny Cooper, Steering Point

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

We then rolled into what was a personal one for me. Any of our Irish listeners will know Jonny Cooper, most likely from his success with the Dublin football team.

Personally, I’m a huge sports fan interested in lots of different sports. And as I’ve developed into a path of entrepreneurship and business performance, I’ve become very interested in the parallels between sports performance, so high level sports performance and high level business performance, and where and how we can draw
parallels between the two.

And Jonny is now a performance coach. So he’s had a massive career in terms of his own sporting achievements. And now he’s passing them into the business world, which I personally find hugely interesting.

I asked Johnny that question and this is what he told us.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

When it comes to high performance leadership, what learnings are transferable between sports and business, and what aren’t?

Jonny Cooper, Steering Point

It’s a really good question.

I think the time that it takes to craft a culture and the resource and the spotlight, it needs to be given spotlight often, certainly in a sports setting, there’s your technicals of being able to catch a kick the ball? There’s your tactical – where should I be on the pitch?

And there’s a couple of other elements that tend – your physical – tend to get a lot of the spotlight and the attention and the resource and the people for it to grow.

I think in the last couple of years, the mental, the psychological, the cultural, the behavioural is all somewhat immature with respect of what is the equation that needs to be put together. Because it’s quite nebulous.

It’s a bit of feeding, it’s a bit of tone, it’s a bit of language, it’s a bit of how are people presenting themselves? What are they saying? What are they not saying? Et cetera.

So I think from that point of view, I think being able to trust that the cultural element does need specific and dedicated time, or people to assist it, to grow in any organisation, any team, in any environment.

So I think that’s really important to take from sports. And we, Dublin, at the time I was involved, certainly would have spent a lot of time specifically in that space.

So there’s the athletic identity. You and everybody else. Me now seeing it through a tv set. Who’s that person with the number? And they’re just great, or they’re crap, or whatever it might be.

And then there’s the human identity. And the human identity is obviously critically important because I innately want to present that I’m from Glasnevin with my three other siblings.

I want to present myself in the way in which I don’t just want to present the footballer, the cornerback, the fullback, the captain, whatever it might be, that’s important. But I probably want to connect so from a cultural aspect, given time for that to grow, but also kind of kind of narrowing in on, as I said, the human identity as opposed to the athletic identity.

And I suppose in a work setting that could be the work identity there, whatever it is, the role that you have as opposed to where are you from?

I think at times – this is probably a general kind of broad brushstroke a little bit – but I think it’s very apt in lots of ways. But GAA as a whole is quite closed compared to rugby, for example, which is really open.

Unbelievably open. Here’s the book, here’s what we’re doing next week, all with a view to what do you think of. I know you’re not from here, but what do you think? Where GAA is quite guarded, quite closed in a way. The parochialism of not sharing with you in the next parish, what we’re doing or what’s going on. I’ll kind of talk to you in such a way that I’m going to guard lots of this information. Whereas I think the ability, as said earlier on, to be a little bit vulnerable and be a little bit open to share a little bit, I think often gets a lot more.

Number one, it validates otherwise your own opinions and thoughts and or gives you certain other views on the world. So I think to answer your question, I guess in short, that kind of cultural development, if you like to bring that from sports into business, but then probably not bring at times the closed guard that is GAA’s old close guardedness that sometimes has teams that wouldn’t necessarily be as guarded internally, but I think as a whole.

Advice For Starting A New Construction Business | Conor Walsh, Encon

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

So interesting to get Johnny’s take on that.

So from there we went into Conor Walsh. I met Conor as part of an award ceremony. We made it to finalists as Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneurs going back a few years back. And I was impressed by Conor. He’s a good operator and there was a lot of common ground there with Conor as well, because he started businesses quite young.

And I found that interesting because a lot of time people can make mistakes and go too early and you don’t have experience managing cash flow, managing teams and you’ve got maybe a little bit of project experience, but then you bring that into the business world and you just get crushed.

So I wanted to ask Conor, he’s done that quite successfully.

He started early and he’s done very, very well in getting businesses off the ground. I wanted to ask Conor what advice he would have for anybody wanting to start out on their own with a construction business.

Conor Walsh, Encon

But I suppose if I could give advice, the advice would be for a young man or a young lady thinking of going out on their own. One: it’s hard, so be ready for the pressure. But the mistake I made was I didn’t stay under the wing of someone for long enough. You know what I mean? As you hit on the nail on the head. I went out my own at 19.

I had to make all the mistakes myself. So I spent years making mistakes. And that was a mistake. That was a big mistake in a sense that, looking back, I think I should have stayed under the wing of somebody. I didn’t have much of a choice at the time, but pick a mentor and stay and learn with them. That’s going to be difficult because fellows might be a bit more cautious of the young entrepreneur and not teach them everything.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

But I think it happens. I think anyone that gets working for a company, I know, this is my experience anyway. And you get into a position where you’re maybe half running the job and you just think to yourself, shit, this is handy.

Why am I running these jobs for that fellow when I could just run the jobs myself? And I’m probably going to earn double the money. And you realise that there’s a running of a project and there’s a running of a business and they’re very different things.

And sometimes you become accidental business owner whereby just an opportunity pops up and you’re there and you take it and next thing you’re employing people. But the choice to go out, yeah, I agree with you. Maybe becoming a number two or number three for a couple of years is probably a good approach where you get to see the business side of it, not just the project ins and outs, because that’s only half the battle, isn’t it?

Conor Walsh, Encon

A fraction of the business.

What’s Happening In The Construction Industry? | Sinead Lew, PWC & Kevin Brady, ANPA

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

It’s great to get the opinions of people on the ground. There’s no question about that.

You heard John earlier on talk about his take on where he felt maybe recessions were going. It’s great to get just an understanding where people are on the ground that believe where things are going. But it’s also great to get what I call the experts who are researching these reports, looking at all the different trends that maybe as business owners, we aren’t.

We had in the Irish market, the Construction Market Monitor Report 2023, which is developed by PwC, and we brought on Sinead Lew, Kevin Brady to dig into that.

And really what that report does is it looks at trends, it looks at insights, and it basically tries to give us some sort of education to what’s happened in the industry and more importantly, what we believe might be happening in the industry.

And Sinead and Kevin were very kind with the time to give us some insights into what was happening around those particular key topics.

Sinead Lew, PwC

I think, to be honest, the last 12 months have been challenging.

Really, that uncertainty that we did anticipate has persisted and prevailed. Ireland is a small, open economy. When you have, say, global supply chain disruptions, inflation pressures, energy volatility, that all plays out and does influence and impact what’s going on here from an Irish economy and down the next level of that within the construction sector.

So I think we have really seen a lot of that uncertainty. But I suppose on top of that, we have continued to have our own more localised challenges, and they’re not unique to Ireland, but they are definitely a feature of our industry, which is capacity and labour availability of labour constraints.

So we’ve seen all of that perfect storm of issues playing out over the last 12 months. But I suppose in saying all of that and at the risk of getting us off on a completely negative footing, I would temper it by saying there is reason for optimism and there was a lot of positive things going on in that I think we’ve seen demand has held up.

There’s huge demand still for construction work and construction activity, and the market is still quite buoyant in that regard. And really what I’ve seen through, as I was mentioning, I do a fair bit on the investment side, and while we have seen some softening in the level of investment, what we’ve probably seen is that investment just repositioning itself into other sectors.

So maybe office isn’t as hot as it was, but leisure, logistics, residential still very, still performing really well. And we’ve seen the sector, construction sector, just its agility in moving with that and dovetailing quite nicely and have been able to move away from maybe a huge concentration around office
and moving over to support other sectors.

So I think that’s really positive and it just speaks again to the resilience that the industry has continued to show despite all that’s been thrown at it over at this stage, I’d say, from the financial crisis.

I don’t know when we say we’ve had issue after issue, really,for a long number of years.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

One of the things we’ve seen in our day to day is just projects being put on pause. A lot of people are saying, “Listen, we’re not going to go ahead with that just yet,” but then it’s not as if they’re being scrapped, I would say.

That’s my experience with being on the ground with these, face-to-face, with the project is due to literally start on such a date and then it’s just issues that have been clogged.

We’re not seeing the projects being killed, I would say on our side, we’re seeing them being held up and I don’t know, I don’t know whether that’s down to finance or what’s going on.

I mean, 12 months ago, Sinéad, you highlighted that the developer finance is an issue. Is that still the case today?

Sinead Lew, PwC

It is, and I’d say that is definitely some of the reason why some projects, like you said, they’re not being… Thankfully, they’re not being mothballed or they’re not being canned completely, but they are being postponed.

Because even in terms of while there is lending still going on, it’s just taking a lot of instances, we’re finding it’s taking longer to get in place because there’s maybe just a number of additional points that need to be worked through in order to get it across the line.

When you’re in an environment of high interest rates, high inflation, which is breathing that uncertainty that we touched upon. But certainly what the survey is showing and what we’re seeing on the ground is that sentiment is has declined in terms of the availability to raise development finance and people are finding it harder.

And when we probed and we looked at the responses that the surveyors have provided, it was all around viability of projects and issues around high interest rates impacting exit yields, which then is just making more and more projects unviable.

Interestingly, though, what we are seeing is a trend towards different types of structuring. So I don’t know if you’ve forward funds and forward sales or forward purchases, these are often bandied around.

And I might just take a second to explain what they are, because maybe people hear them, but they don’t fully know what it means.

But in a forward funding scenario, essentially an investor will come in and acquire a site, a greenfield site, and they would fund the development to completion. So that’s very attractive from a developer construction perspective, because it takes all of that construction risk away and that need for them to finance away.

That can be quite attractive and we’re seeing more of those type of arrangements in the market. Or equally, we’re seeing the forward sale, forward fund, and those terms can be interchangeably, whether you’re buy-side or sell-side, which is an investor coming along and saying at the outset, I’m going to buy those completed units from you when they’re completed for X amount.

That’s really beneficial from the investor perspective because they’ve now removed themselves from the construction risk.

Obviously, the developer is still taking that on, but it enables them to go to a funder and say, Well, I’ve locked in Ciaran to buy my 100 units for 100 million.

And it’s unlocking a bit of development finance that way because they have certainty that they’re going to sell the units. So we’re seeing an awful lot more of those type of arrangements in the market, and I don’t see that trend changing any time soon.

How To Build A More Modern, Stable, And Productive Construction Industry| Colm McHugh, Construct Innovate

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

Interestingly, when I done the research on that episode and I listened back to the previous episode we had with Sinead, which would have been a year previous, I was actually incredibly impressed with how close and accurate the predictions were around what Sinead had predicted would happen in that year.

I find those episodes great because a lot of the small to medium size construction companies that I talk to on a day to day basis, those reports go over their head, they get missed.

So it’s good to be able to try and get Sinead and Kevin on to try and break the reports down to what might be important to a lot of what I know are the listeners of this, which is your small to medium size construction company.

From there we went to innovation, and we were delighted to see an organisation spin up called Construct Innovate, which brings together academics and brings together industry to solve real construction problems.

And the centre manager for Construct Innovate is Colm McHugh, and we brought Colm on to share how Construct Innovate is going to provide a more modern, stable and productive construction sector.

Colm McHugh, Construct Innovate

What Ireland needs to do is move the construction sector and transition it to become a more modern, a more sustainable, a more productive sector of the economy if it wants to achieve what the targets that are set for it, if you like.

What we want to do or how we want to support the industry in doing that is by involving and collaborating with industry and academia to produce valuable, industry-led, impactful research.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

You say we bring academics and industry together. What would a typical company or person look like from the industry side? Who’s getting involved in this?

Colm McHugh, Construct Innovate

We’re not prescriptive.

We want anyone with stake in the construction industry to engage or Construct Innovate, either on the academic side, be it on the state body side, policy holders at department level, and also the whole supply chain of the construction industry.

So from tier one contractors down to the smallest SMEs, we see a place for them in research.

Some of the challenges that we have in the centre is first of all, there’s 57,000 companies in construction in Ireland and 94% of them are less than six people.

So the majority of the supply chain across the industry are SMEs. So we have to engage with them and we have to try to offer them something of value on both ends when they come into the centre, engage with the centre
and also the outputs that come out of it.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

Has there been any research done to where we are today? Where’s the starting point?

How do we compare to say, the UK or Germany or any of those countries of mainland Europe or even Australia, for example, is there a benchmark that we’re trying to get to?

Colm McHugh, Construct Innovate

There was a detailed description and needs report commissioned by Ernest and Young by Enterprise Ireland a number of years ago into the state of play of the construction industry in Ireland, where the challenges are and where it needs to go.

One of the recommendations of that report was the establishment of a Construction Technology Centre where there could be a national focus on research around construction challenges.

So that’s where the background is.

And the reason it was commissioned was the government wanted to know, are we going to be able to deliver on the National Delivery Plan, on the National Development Plan, sorry, the Climate Action Plan, Housing for All?

And part of the solution was if we engage companies in research, they can help themselves and become more productive and more sustainable, more digitalized, but also to tackle some of the bigger challenges that we have across the industry.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

You mentioned one there, Housing For All, which would be close to my day to day. If you look at one area there, which is probably the biggest issue we have at the moment, is housing.

What research has been done to help deliver more housing or to reach those Housing For All targets?

Is there a current project or is there a project in the pipeline that would help us to get there?

Colm McHugh, Construct Innovate

Part of the brief and focus is on coming up with solution to industry challenges, but particularly residential construction in the first three years. I suppose the way I like to think of it is there’s a weighted focus towards research into housing topics in the first number of years at the centre.

It’s not that we’re ignoring the infrastructure or other really important parts of the construction industry, you can’t really deliver houses unless your infrastructure is in place there.

But because it’s such a critical issue in the economy at the minute, there’s specific focus on that.

And we’re undertaking a number of specific research projects with the Department of Housing and Local Government and Heritage at the moment on housing topics.

What we’re doing at the minute is mainly shorter duration projects, they’re called Pathfinder projects to show the way on a certain topic. And we had hoped that most of them are completed by the end of November.

So just some examples would be there’s a project being led by the Timber Energy Research Group at the University of Galway about increasing the use of homegrown C16 timber in housing construction.

We have another on design for manufacturing assembly, and that’s another project led by Roderick at TCD. That’s as this construction industry moves or starts to expand into MMC, which sure, a lot of listeners would have heard of already.

Modern methods of construction are modular offsite construction techniques to deliver, which is part of the housing solution, certainly the government see it that way.

But you have to also design your projects, your houses, for example, to be able to be manufactured offsite. So part of that is how are we going to upskill the sector to be the professional services part of the sector, to be able to design so that we can build our houses predominantly offsite and then bring them site to click
them together for want of a better term.

We have some projects into standards, testing, certification and accreditation for the delivery of housing.

So how are they delivered at the minute and is there a better way of doing it? Those projects are what we’ve got ongoing at the minute. They’re generally short term projects because we want quick turnaround and the Department of Housing also wants the pathway put forward to say, right, here’s the next steps and here’s where the gaps are.

What Does 2024 Look Like For Construction? | Paddy Carroll, Carroll Estimating

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

Yeah, it’s a great incentive, The Construct Innovate. If they get that right, it’s going to be right in a big way. I mean, the industry needs more, it needs to pull together.

It’s just so important. We can’t let the top tier of the industry pull away digitally and leave everything else behind because that’s not how it works. Everyone, all size of companies work together on these projects.

You could have the main contractor who has 200 employees and is completely digitised. And if you’ve got whatever the smallest carpentry contractor that’s just coming in maybe just to hang the fire doors and they’re a five man team, we want everyone digitised. We don’t just want the top tier pulling away and leaving behind the small subcontractors, which we know is the core of the industry.

We don’t want those to happen. So for centres like Construct Innovate to bring academics and bring industry together and the whole thought of not leaving behind the rest of the industry, it’s just only positive.

We are big supporters and definitely one thing that we will be keeping a close eye on and trying to contribute as well in any way we can.

We then moved onto Paddy Carroll. Paddy Carroll is the MD of Caroll Estimating, and Paddy has a great sense over what’s happening across multiple construction companies, so very much has his finger on the pulse, providing cost control, estimating services to these companies. But we put Paddy on the spot a little bit, and this is where this comes to a good conclusion.

So no better question to ask Paddy on what he believes 2024 looks like for construction.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

What do you think the industry looks like for 2024?

Paddy Carroll, Carroll Estimating

More competitive. What we’re seeing is that architects were sending out five to tenders to five contractors. They were getting back maybe two or three prices. We’re starting to see the four or five prices are going back.

I will say that contractors that are in the we’ll say the houses or refurbs or anything that’s over half a million. They’re being more cautious of who the client is because, believe it or not, just because a tender comes out, a contractor is actually watching, is looking or seeing who you are as well.

Do you know what I mean?

It’s not just you looking at them, the contractor is actually looking at you, and looking who is the design team on this job. So it’s a two way street.

What we’ve noticed as well, we do a lot of negotiating. So sometimes clients or architects will come to us directly to say that this client had a friend or a daughter or a family member and the builder did such and such, would the mind coming up and walking the site with us?

We’re planning to do this and that’s where we come in and we go, we advise them to say they might say to us, their budget is I’m just saying 200,000, but it has a zinc roof on it.

And we’ll go to say look, lads, zinc roof is going to cost you 300 euro a square metre. Can you not just go back to slates or back to tiles? But we’re advising the architect as well.

The people want their castle.

But they can’t afford that, so bring it back. And look, I’ll always say this, and I say this to anyone. There is always a deal to be done, always. A builder will do their best.

If a builder wants that job, he will do his best to get it.

Ciaran Brennan, LiveCosts

So more competitive, more any risk of the whole thing falling asunder?

Paddy Carroll, Carroll Estimating

That’s what you feel hearing, let’s not talk about put ourselves into recession. No.

And I hear too much negativity out there at the moment. No, drive on. We’ve too much building to do in this country!


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