Ireland, like every other country, finds itself in need of more housing than site-building alone can provide. Facing the same problems of rising costs, shortages of building materials, and skilled labor the rest of the world is facing, they are doing everything they can to move to off-site housing including prefabrication and modular construction.
The majority of new homes in Ireland could eventually be built in factories off-site, a Construction Industry Federation conference has heard.
With Ireland's chronic housing shortage and undersupply set to continue into the future, the 2021 Digital Construction Summit held recently heard from a number of speakers on ways the challenges in the construction industry could be met.
In his opening address to the conference, the CIF's director of specialist contracting Sean Downey said the industry needed to adjust the way it operates in order to meet the challenges of climate change, the digitization of the sector, and supply-chain optimization through the greater use of off-site manufacturing.
He also cited a report completed recently for Enterprise Ireland UK which shows that 60% of the traditional ‘stick built’ sector will go to an off-site delivery model within five years.
Micheál Keohane, a director with BAM Ireland and Modern Homes Ireland, which specializes in modular homes, told DigiCon that when constructed off-site, a pair of semi-detached houses can be brought to site and are in place in less than a day — 90% complete and fully weather-tight. He said that alongside the speed there was a range of other benefits.
"There are eight times the off-site quality checks than there ever could be on-site," he said.
Paul Carty, director of construction in Ireland for Ballymore, which has 15,000 homes under constriction in Ireland and the UK, said modular and off-site construction still only forms 7%-10% of the industry.
"It's a very low volume," he said. "However, the private sector isn't able to sustain the modular industry in its own right, so the public sector needs to step in here.
"If running a factory, you need to feed the factory continually. It's very important that the industry recognizes this.
Gary Fleisher is the Managing Director and contributor for Modcoach News and Modular Home Coach.
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