MMC Ireland at the National Construction Summit 2024

MMC Ireland members turned out in great numbers, flying the flag for offsite and other modern methods of construction, at the National Construction Summit 2024 this week. It was the 10th annual Construction Summit – and the largest construction event to take place in Ireland in over a decade – with thousands flocking to Blanchardstown. Comments about traffic and parking were taken in the spirit of wet trouser-legs at the beach: a welcome symptom of a great day!  In fact, special thanks to one of our speakers on the MMC Ireland stage (you know who you are) who jumped out of his car on the N3 and ran past traffic to hit the stage on time – now that’s dedication. It was great to see more than 20 of our 80+ MMC Ireland members sharing their knowledge and expertise on stage, with many more familiar faces contributing from the audience.

MMC Ireland Board Members and Working Group Chairs

Highlights from the event included a panel discussion with MMC Ireland Board members and Chairs of the working groups :’Voices of Ireland’s MMC Sector: Capabilities and Potential Capacity’. So much project experience and so many working insights were shared by panelists Tony McLoughlin from Glenveagh & Nua Manufacturing;  Ger Fahey from Remagin (formerly Horizon Offsite);  Pat Kirwan from MMC Ireland co-founding company  C+W O’Brien Architects, Ronan Lonergan MRIAI from Cairn Homes PLC, and Dick Clerkin from Clerkin Consulting. 

[More to follow on www.mmcireland.ie]

GLENVEAGH/NUA MANUFACTURING

In a rare fireside chat, Glenveagh’s Tony McLoughlin talked about ambitions to scale housing delivery through Nua Manufacturing’s new facilities, including the former Braun factory in the heart of Carlow town.

“Our scale is our strength – with NUA we’re the largest offsite manufacturer in Ireland with ambitions to grow more in the coming years. We’re accelerating our manufacturing capability to deliver high quality, low carbon, energy efficient homes using modern methods of construction (MMC).”

[Extended commentary to follow from this impactful interview on www.mmcireland.ie]

CPAC MODULAR

First up, Mark Whitehead, Construction Director with CPAC Modular, drew a huge crowd as he opened the MMC stage with his engaging talk on ‘Modular Student Accommodation’, taking a look at the solutions and opportunities modular student accommodation can offer. In addition to being a Movember Ambassador, Mark was recently named amongst the ‘40 Under 40 Global Construction Champions’ and we are delighted to have the benefit of his experience on the #MMCIreland Technical Guidance & Knowledge Sharing working group.   

Well done to the entire CPAC Modular team, who delivered a superb experience at their expo stand, including the opportunity to check out their VR Campus and launching CPAC Framing this week.

PROCON MODULAR

In one of the most engaging and insightful #MMC sessions of the day, Eoin Daly, Managing Director of Procon Modular, shared insights from his almost 40 years in the industry. The Procon Modular team is involved in the manufacturing of high quality offsite constructed modular buildings, including offices, classrooms, hospital wards/theatres and emergency residential accommodation. Eoin talked about the urgent need for housing across all tenures, including emergency accommodation, and the role offsite and other modern methods of construction offers as a key solution. Procon has significantly increased its pipeline and capacity over the past year with the opening of a new 60,000 sq ft factory on 4 acres in County Laois. This expansion has enabled Procon to deliver 150 units every 4 months, and this capacity is scalable as demand scales. 

Attendees were interested to learn about the opportunities within Procon and about the internal regime that ensures a continuous cycle of training, allowing skills to scale as pipeline grows.

In addressing some of the barriers to MMC adoption, Eoin touched on a wide range of issues, including outdated procurement models and general consumer perception challenges, although he recognised that awareness of offsite and MMC is growing (across government and the general public) and perceptions are improving every day. Learn more about Procon Modular at https://www.procon.ie/

SIGA

Energy performance of materials components and buildings – well done to Siga’s Deputy Head of Application Engineering and expert for BSI (British Standard Institute), Stan Admiraal, who delivered an insight-packed session on ‘Off Site Manufacturing and Temporary Protection Throughout the Project Duration’, where he discussed methods, speed of installation, high precision and protection of the elements during transport. 

Drawing on extensive Irish and international project experience, Stan explained why storage and protection during the construction phase are of the utmost importance for the quality, performance, and durability of the final building, and why it is critical to use high quality materials that fulfill the requirement of building protection – not only during transportation and during the construction phase, but also long after that. Learn more about SIGA products and expertise at https://www.siga.swiss/ie_en

FRAMESPACE

Micheál Keohane, Director and Head of Development at Framespace, delivered a session on one of the most speculated upon topics of the day: ‘Modular Metric – The Numbers Around Modular Construction’. 

Micheál explored how a modular solution – the RIGHT modular solution – can help your project become more sustainable. Learn more about Framespace https://www.framespace.ie/

PORTAKABIN

Flying the flag for MMC in Ireland, the Portakabin Ireland team had a strong presence – both inside and outside – at the National Construction Summit 2024! 

Colin O’Murray, Head of Commercial in Ireland spoke about the importance of modular buildings in today’s climate and the sustainability benefits of modular construction.

Drawing on the team’s extensive project experience, he walked the audience through the process of knowing when to choose a modular solution over a traditional build. Learn more about Portakabin https://www.portakabin.com/ie-en/

CAPCON

Donnacha Tobin, Divisional Director with Capcon, provided an expert perspective on designing efficient, sustainable rainwater drainage systems for large scale construction projects.

This session engaged the audience as Donnacha explained the differences between siphonic and gravity drainage. He also broke down the often contentious issue of design responsibility when it comes to drainage, and explored designing for extreme weather events (particularly relevant right now!), including how to mitigate time and cost risks. Learn more about Capcon https://capconeng.com/

PARTEL

Hugh Whiriskey, Founder & Director of Partel spoke about the ‘Importance of Weather Tightness and Building Protection for Modern Methods of Construction’.

In his presentation, Hugh focused on the importance of air and wind tightness in low-energy building design. In this interactive session, he also discussed the importance of external and internal membranes and their sealing. He further highlighted best practice on how to specify and install. His presentation explored some of the risks associated with airtight buildings and how best to overcome these. 

Of particular interest to the audience was hearing about the recently developed EXOPERM MONO SA 250, which is an external-use membrane that addresses the challenges associated with modern construction methods. This latest product demonstrates Partel’s preference for breathable membranes that enhance the energy performance of the building.

In a superb display of collaboration, Partel products were evident on many #MMC manufacturer stands around the Summit! Learn more about Partel products at https://www.partel.ie/

PETRUF CONSULTING ENGINEERS

Stephen Grant, BIM Manager with Petruf Consulting Engineers, delivered a session on ‘The benefits of implementation of precast concrete systems with the utilisations of 3D modelling and BIM principles’.

Petruf Consulting Engineers are consulting engineers who provide traditional structural design and specialist Precast Concrete design and manufacturing information for manufacturers and developers. The team has extensive experience and knowledge in implementing precast concrete systems to meet manufacturing and onsite requirements. Stephen spoke of how this advanced 3D modelling software provides accurate and detailed data in a 3D and Common Data Environment – drawing on extensive project experience and showing designs right through to the finished building or building component, much to the interest of the audience. He also took the audience through the benefits of precast concrete systems, the benefits to 3D analysis and modelling to create innovative and bespoke solutions to clients needs, and how the company’s modelling solutions allow bespoke solutions. 

Learn more about the capabilities of Petruf Consulting Engineers at https://petruf.ie/

O’REILLY PRECAST 

The O’Reilly Precast team is one of Ireland’s leading manufacturers of precast concrete frames and precast architectural facades. Technical Director, Richard Kowalski, delivered a presentation on ‘Transforming Construction’ at the National Construction Summit 2024, setting out O’Reilly Precast’s role in offsite and MMC.

Leveraging his extensive project experience, Richard shared the significant role of precast concrete in offsite construction and other modern methods of construction in Ireland and the UK. He discussed the numerous benefits of precast, which include improved quality control, accelerated construction timelines, and environmental sustainability. This session also featured insights into the successful integration of BIM in precast processes at O’Reilly Precast, with Richard highlighting its effectiveness in enhancing efficiency and accuracy. 

It was clear from these project insights that precast, as a methodology, aligns with MMC principles, particularly in terms of waste reduction and cost efficiency. 

Learn more about O’Reilly Precast at https://oreillyprecast.com/ 

HLM

HLM’s Anne Daw, Associate and Head of MMC Delivery, and Philip Watson, Director and Head of Design delivered the most insight-packed, and indeed the most photographed, session of the day at the National Construction Summit! 

HLM Architects have been involved in designing for offsite manufacture for over twenty years. Drawing on a wide range of multi-sectoral, international project experience, Anne and Philip explored the benefits and challenges to delivering housing through MMC, with particular focus on ‘platform’ design solutions, including ‘solution agnostic’ approaches.

Recent HLM work has focused on MMC solutions to low-rise volume housing as a way of tackling the shortfall in new homes being constructed each year. They shared their experience of delivering high-quality, low-rise housing solutions, as well as insights into research and development initiatives that provided a digital kit-of-parts as a framework, allowing housing providers and manufacturers to confidently invest in the sector.

This particular session was packed with UK learnings that the Irish industry was quick to recognise and, fortunately, there was a strong senior civil service presence in attendance on the day. It was noted in the session and in the Q&A engagement throughout, that the Irish sector needs to learn from what has worked in other jurisdictions – and what has not – in both an operational and policy context. Learn more about HML Architects and view a selection of Irish and international projects at https://hlmarchitects.com/ 

*We look forward to continuing this critical conversation at the #MMCIreland National Conference 2024 in Kilkenny on May 22nd and 23rd, we hope to see you there: Book to join us https://mmcireland.ie/ 

FALK, Building Ambitions Together 

Christos Michaelides, Sales for Falk Ireland, took to the stage at the National Construction Summit 2024 to present: ‘Cradle to Cradle: How FALK can recycle insulated PIR panels’ 

Christos explained that a sandwich panel is a prefabricated building that is widely used for finishing and insulating halls, stables, business premises, schools and residential buildings. Of particular interest to the audience on the day, Christos demonstrated the functional advantages of FALK sandwich panels and introduced CradleCore®

In a move away from ‘cradle to grave’ materials, FALK sandwich panels are available with a circular CradleCore® insulation core, ensuring a ‘cradle to cradle’ approach, which reduces the environmental impact by up to 38%.

Learn more about Falk and their CradleCore® offering at  https://www.falk.com/en

MHI MODERN HOMES IRELAND & BAM Ireland

Huge thanks to Kevin Hickey, Design Manager with MHI Modern Homes Ireland & BAM for delivering an insight-packed presentation on ‘How to incorporate modular construction into your project’ – which was one of the most commonly asked questions at the National Construction Summit last week.

Kevin showcased a number of MHI (Modern Homes Ireland) projects and discussed  parameters around modular construction including structure, fire testing, M&E considerations and architectural design. Kevin guided the audience right through the process, from manufacturing to site installation, taking in issues of certification and digital implementation across the design, production and manufacturing stages.

The MHI team also received a special visitor to their stand – Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD certainly appeared to be impressed by the MHI system and indicated that a visit to Cavan might be in order (when is it not?!). 

Learn more about the MHI offering at  https://mhi.ie/

CLERKIN CONSULTING 

Dick Clerkin, Managing Director of Clerkin Consulting, wrapped up the MMC Ireland stage at the National Construction Summit with a frank presentation on ‘Building the Future: Navigating Challenges and Risks in Scaling Offsite Manufacturing for Growth’

After a day of celebrating the potential of offsite and other modern methods of construction, Dick shared the realities of offsite manufacturing and explored many of the challenges and risks associated with scaling for growth. Of particular interest to the audience, he chartered the transformative shift towards prefabrication and modular construction, layering in his experiences, and demonstrated how understanding the nuances of offsite manufacturing is critical for industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and policymakers alike. 

From supply chain intricacies to factory constraints and workforce management, Dick addressed key challenges faced by businesses aiming for substantial growth through Irish and international case studies and his own expert analysis. Learn more about https://clerkinconsulting.com/

As Chair of the MMC Ireland Education & Awareness working group, Dick also joined MMC Ireland Board members for a robust panel discussion on the Main Stage about the capabilities and scaling capacity of the MMC sector in Ireland – We look forward to continuing this critical conversation at the #MMCIreland National Conference 2024 in Kilkenny on May 22nd and 23rd, we hope to see you there: Book to join us https://mmcireland.ie/ 

MMC Ireland National Conference 2024

While it was great to hear from more than 20 of our 80+ members at the construction summit, there was a definite sense that the MMC conversation was only getting started, with many more questions than answers.

We look forward to picking up this conversation and tackling many of the bigger questions around procurement, the ‘kit of parts’ approach, standardisation, ongoing BCAR challenges and other technical issues at the MMC Ireland National Conference 2024, taking place in the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny on the 22nd and 23rd of May. Tickets for this expert-packed event are available at https://mmcireland.ie/national-conference/, we look forward to seeing you there!

For further queries, contact info@mmcireland.ie