Article originally published in Offsite Magazine UK, click to read in full:

On the eve of the MMC Ireland National Conference, we hear from MMC Ireland’s CEO Paul Tierney, on the shape of the offsite market in Ireland and some of the common challenges being faced in the UK.

Q: Can you say a little about the background and formation of MMC Ireland? Has there been a nood for a more organised central voice for Irish offsite providers and market development for a while?

Paul Tierney (PT): The idea for MMC Ireland came about in 2019 when Arthur O’Brien of C+W O’Brien: Architects and Declan Wallace of Evolusion Innovation who had both separately recognised a need for the emerging offsite and MMC sector at that time to be better supported came together. MMC Ireland was formally established in 2022 by 20 founding members and has since grown to a membership in excess of 80 companies. The remit of the organisation is clear- as a member- driven body, MMC Ireland’s aims are to advance the interests of our members and the sector as a whole. What this looks like on the ground is further development and growth of the marketplace and project pipeline, both in Ireland and internationally.

Q: MMC Ireland has three key Working Groups – what are these cooking to achieve and how will members collaborate to boost the profile of offsite methods across Ireland?

PT: The groups are Technical Guidance & Knowledge Sharing chaired by Ronen Lonergan of Cairn Homes and Eoin Waldron of Castle Modular, that is working on delivering an MMC catalogue of all member companies, their products and details of the technical performance of these products. The goal of our ‘National Policy Support & Integration’ group, choired by Pat Kirwan of C+W O’Brien Architects is to harness the project insights of MMC Ireland members and and identify barriers to MMC adoption, to ensure alignment of current government policy with our members ability and capacity to deliver on government targets.

Our last group, deals with ‘Awareness & Education’ and is chaired by Dick Clerkin of Clarkin Consulting and Nicola McKoy of HLM Architects. There is a huge body of work to be done in educating the industry, government and senior civil servants, and, most critically, project owners, on the compelling benefits of embracing offsite and other modern methods of construction. Given the deep manufacturing and technical expertise of our members, the approach to education is data-driven, with data extracted from project case studies and the shared learning of our members across a range of international, multi-sectoral projects.

Q: How strong is contral and local government support for the offsite sector in Ireland? The Housing for All strategy highlights offsite as a key delivery method. What frameworks are in place to develop specific sectors and is there a recognition of the need for alternatives to traditional sito- based methods?

PT: In Ireland there is strong and growing State support and appetite for enabling the delivery of projects through offsite construction. We are seeing this appetite grow significantly as the need for housing, education and healthcare delivery becomes ever more urgent.

Our role within MMC Ireland is to help local and central government to set up the right procurement frameworks to deliver, by providing technical guidance and insights based on the experiences of our members. Critically, our Ireland-based members have global project expertise that the State can and does leverage. Also, MMC Ireland membership of companies outside of Ireland is growing significantly and this further boosts the project knowledge available for sharing with local and central government.

Government has shown a great awareness of the programme benefits of using MMC and there is a clear mandate for State projects to embrace or ‘lean into the use of offsite construction. At MMC Ireland, we are committed to engaging with the excellent State initiatives in place, including the MMC Demonstration Park at Mount Lucas, and the range of academic researchers and training providers currently tasked with identifying technical challenges and skills gaps that could hinder MMC adoption within both the public and private sector. Progress made in recent years is encouraging and signals that MMC adoption is on the right trajectory in Ireland.

Q: The imperatives of sustainability, energy efficiency and higher quality buildings are common construction aims everywhere, how will MMC Ireland and its members help bring about those changes domestically and Internationally?

PT: Offsite construction is more sustainable by default, a fact that is not as well communicated as it could or should be. At an individual level, our respective members are innovating new products and designing new low carbon systems to help project owners deliver on sustainability targets across a range of metrics, including waste reduction and moving from ‘cradle to grave’ to a more ‘cradle to cradle’ approach that incorporates.

22 & 23 MAY 2024

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Article originally published in Offsite Magazine UK, click to read in full: