Brendan Davey, Director at Monami Construction, talks to ICIM about the rising cost of raw materials, staying competitive and why it’s up to us all to find viable solutions to deliver on clients’ expectations

How is business at Monami Construction?
Monami Construction has developed significant expertise and resources over the last decade and grown exponentially in recent years. We have been prudent in managing our business to ensure we have a wide base of high-profile clients, an ambitious and highly capable workforce together with a strong financial balance sheet.

Abbey Street Hostel

We are currently involved in a diverse range of complex projects across several sectors including residential, healthcare, commercial and hotel/leisure. Our pipeline is very robust with emphasis on a broad range of projects and sectors. We are vigilant in the current economic climate around ensuring projects are commercially viable and we work closely with clients to assess the practicalities and challenges of ensuring projects can be delivered on time and within budget.

Is Covid still presenting difficulties?
Covid is less of an issue at this time. We have permanently altered certain work practices to ensure a safer working environment. Works are carried out in a much more controlled manner, minimising the potential impact of Covid and similar issues.

What’s the Irish market like at the moment?
The construction market is relatively buoyant, with a particularly high concentration of residential projects coming for tender. Obviously, Government policy on housing is a driving force, however one of the biggest and most immediate constraints to substantially increasing the supply of residential units in the short term is the deficit of qualified staff, particularly in trades. In addition, the rising costs of raw materials combined with inflationary/energy pressures could potentially threaten the commercial viability of many projects in the short to medium term.

3 Poplar Row, Drumcondra

The early stages of transition following the UK departure from the EU proved challenging, as it was apparent that the UK supply chain was not concerned by the moving to EU27 compliance to match Irish Regulations. This issue has certainly rectified itself over the last 12 months, however, we are still finding a lack of understanding of the issues brought on by Brexit and UK suppliers entering the Irish market. Issues with VAT, customs clearance and a lack of understanding of our construction regulations are common. Early engagement is key to assist our UK partners in overcoming these problems.

As mentioned, we see rising inflation and the energy crisis as causing more immediate pressures. There will always be challenges and it is incumbent on us all to manage the business through such challenges with a keen commercial reality and a responsibility to find viable solutions so that we can continue to deliver our clients’ expectations and requirements. Now more than ever is the time to be solution-focused and Monami strives to have a positive attitude, whilst paying close attention and navigating potential risks.

How much of an effect are material prices and delays having on the business?
Ultimately, rising costs and delays will always cause major problems. It is challenging, however open and honest communication with clients and design teams, appropriate value engineering and proactive management of projects and budgets is the only way to move forward and mitigate issues insofar as is reasonably possible. We find that our clients are very proactive in actively working with us in identifying solutions and avenues for how best to mitigate against rising costs. For example, simple approaches like procuring materials ahead of potential price increases have worked well for us on current projects.

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Denise Maguire   Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine & Plan Magazine