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Irish government seeks consortia to drive digital best practice

4 January 2021

The Irish government has launched a competitive challenge-based grant call to deliver its Build Digital Project for the Construction Sector in 2021.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath said: “Build Digital aims to ensure that world-class digital practices are adopted throughout the industry and supply chain in order to achieve a more sustainable and innovative sector from top to bottom. 

“It will provide guidance and leadership on the necessary digital tools, standards, approaches and training required by all across the sector, and in particular small and medium-sized firms who may have yet to realise the full benefits of digital approaches. Increasing innovation in the Irish construction sector is more necessary than ever over the coming years in order to deliver on the ambitions set out in the government’s Project Ireland 2040 investment strategy.”

Applications are being sought from multi-partner consortia, for example collaborations between higher education institutions, companies and/or other research performing organisations.

Expressions of interest must be submitted to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform by 15 January 2021 and full applications by 15 February 2021.

One successful application will be selected in March 2021 based on the prescribed criteria. The successful bidder will be eligible to draw down public grant funding of up to €500,000 per annum for a total of five years, subject to meeting the requirements of the grant agreement.

The project will present "significant opportunities for industry participation and cooperation, as well as the need for the public funding to be supplemented by industry funding".

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said: “CIF welcomes this call for consortia to lead the Build Digital Project and recognises it as a critical step in the advancement of our industry towards a digital transformation. With the establishment of the project, the industry can look forward to a coordinated approach to the implementation of standards, development of nationally-aligned training programmes and in time facilitate a mandate supporting the digital procurement of public and private sector projects.”

The Build Digital Project is part of the strategy developed by the Construction Sector Innovation and Adoption Subgroup, which was established by the government and industry last September.

PJ Rudden, chair of the subgroup said: “Build Digital is one of seven priority actions to raise construction productivity levels. Also included is a new Construction Technology Centre by Enterprise Ireland, a move to high-quality offsite and modular methods of construction, addressing the built environment skills shortages and digitising the planning permission application system to speed up preconstruction planning approvals. These seven new integrated actions will combine to better deliver Project Ireland 2040 and the National Development Plan.

“It means building to much higher technical standards, delivering on time and within approved budgets. Our future construction will be green as well as digital. That’s means meeting our sustainability and climate action targets.”

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