MMC Ireland Hosts Inaugural National Conference
Dublin, Ireland – June 14, 2023 – MMC Ireland, the leading industry representative body for companies involved in offsite and other modern methods of construction (MMC), successfully held its inaugural National Conference at Croke Park on June 6th. With over 300 delegates in attendance, including construction professionals, manufacturers, and innovative solution providers, the event marked a pivotal moment for the MMC sector in Ireland.
The conference was opened by newly appointed Interim CEO, Paul Tierney, who emphasised the critical role of MMC Ireland at this exciting juncture for the industry and the wider construction sector. MMC Ireland represents companies involved in the procurement, design and delivery of all elements of modern methods of construction, from 2D, 3D, and precast, right through to mechanical and engineering (M&E).
He outlined the organisation’s strategy, which includes supporting government procurement from MMC Ireland members, facilitating inter-member collaboration, and correcting misconceptions about MMC’s consistent quality and premium output. Throughout the day, the conference harnessed the extensive expertise present both on and off the stage.
“MMC Ireland, as an organisation, is in its infancy, but there can be no doubting the deep expertise and technical knowledge of our members” – Paul Tierney, Interim CEO of MMC Ireland.
Prominent thought leaders, including Vaughan Buckley, founder and CEO of Volumetric Building Companies (VBC), and Michael Hough, founder of MJH structural engineers, shared valuable insights on global opportunities, risks, and advancements in modular construction. Additionally, Ciaran O’Connor, Principal Architect for Major Project Delivery with the Office of Public Work, and Eoin Waldron, General Manager of Castle Modular and MMC Ireland Board member, provided an overview of volumetric modular housing solutions for Ukrainian refugees, showcasing the positive impact of MMC projects.
A panel of housing delivery experts, moderated by renowned GAA pundit Dick Clerkin, delved into the importance of MMC as a driver for increased output in the housing sector. Arthur O’Brien, Declan Hughes, Ian Lydon, Stephen Garvey, and Sean O’Connor explored the market’s future prospects and the need for collaboration and innovation. Declan Hughes, Secretary General for the Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment, hailed the conference as a significant watershed moment for the MMC industry in Ireland, reaffirming the government’s commitment to collaborate with the sector, stating that “MMC is Policy”.
MMC testing and certification emerged as crucial topics throughout the conference, with Declan Wallace, CEO of Evolusion Innovation and Chair of the MMC Ireland Board, providing a comprehensive analysis. Notable sessions were also delivered by Graham Couchman, CEO of the Steel Construction Institute, and Dave Lomax, Senior Associate Director at Waugh Thistleton, renowned for their expertise in offsite steel and mass timber construction respectively.
Addressing the urgent need to mitigate climate impacts, Pat Barry, CEO of the Irish Green Building Council, and Dan Shea, Senior Technical Innovation Co-Ordinator with Barratt Developments in the UK, shed light on building a zero-carbon Ireland and the journey to energy efficiency through MMC. Pat further highlighted the importance of collaboration across all of the industry groups, enabling access to funding, research partnerships and knowledge sharing at a project level – as reinforced in the MMC Ireland Roadmap.
The afternoon keynote speaker, Amy Marks, VP of Enterprise Transformation Practice at Autodesk, emphasised the imperative for innovation and digital transformation within the MMC industry. She underscored the potential of “Manufacture Informed Design” to reduce construction waste and costs significantly.
Paddy Ryan, CEO of Gaga Muller Enterprise, led a panel discussion on how digital platforms are leading the way in MMC, featuring industry experts such as Amy Marks, Craig Johnson, Charlotte Garrett, Sarah-Jane Pisciotti, and Pat Kirwan. The panel explored sustainable, low-carbon innovation, design standardisation, and the role of digital platforms in driving MMC.
Pat Kirwan, Head of MMC Delivery at C+W O’Brien Architects and MMC Ireland Board Member, provided an overview of the MMC Ireland framework and its alignment with government policy, highlighting the dedication of key stakeholders to industry innovation. Also, Eoin Waldron, General Manager of Castle Modular and Board Member of MMC Ireland, concluded the conference by presenting a roadmap for modern methods of construction. The roadmap outlined industry objectives, government alignment, and necessary actions to propel the MMC industry forward.
As the inaugural MMC Ireland National Conference came to a close, Interim CEO Paul Tierney expressed optimism about the future of MMC in Ireland. He emphasised the need for collaboration, innovation, and the testing of new methods, materials, and technologies to enhance productivity and sustainability. While housing was the dominant theme of the day, important discussions touched on the MMC delivery of all sectors, including healthcare, education, pharma and others. It was demonstrated clearly on the day that offsite and other modern methods of construction are already having a significant impact on delivery, and this impact goes beyond MMC as an emergency response; this is the future of sustainable construction globally.
This inaugural conference marked a turning point for the MMC sector in Ireland, where industry leaders, government representatives, and experts came together to shape the future of construction through modern methods. The discussions and insights from the conference will play a crucial role in driving the adoption of MMC and revolutionising the construction industry in Ireland.
For more information about MMC Ireland and the initiatives of this industry representative body, please visit www.mmcireland.ie.