Construction Industry Must Be Smart in Building for the Future

19 Sep 2016

In our latest blog piece, we have a question and answer session with Director of RPS, PJ Rudden, who says that the skills gap in the construction industry will have to be plugged over next five years if we are to meet demand.

How long have you held the position of Director at RPS?
Since 1999 (MCOS changed its name to RPS in 2002)

What are your day-to -day responsibilities?
I am responsible for overall business development and marketing in RPS and for planning and development of large infrastructure projects.

What is your professional background?
I have an honours degree in civil engineering from University College Dublin and I am a Fellow of both Engineers Ireland and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in U.K. I was President of Engineers Ireland (2011-2012) and am now President of UCD Engineering Graduates Association (2012-2016).

Tell me about yourself away from work?
I hill walk a lot and generally like the great outdoors.

Tell us something very few people know about you?
I won National Young Journalist of the Year from a competition run by the Irish Independent while doing my Leaving Certificate.

You are speaking at the 2016 Construction Industry Federation conference. What is your talk about?
I will discuss the national infrastructural deficit as outlined in the Engineers Ireland “State of Ireland Report 2016”. I will also deal with many infrastructural challenges facing the construction industry in terms of services like water, wastewater, transport and waste.

What challenges do you see for the construction sector?
The principal challenges are the funding and human resources to rebuild the industry after severe recession to provide homes and buildings for future economic prosperity using smarter technologies. There is a growing shortage of civil engineering graduates and other skills due to falling student interest in engineering, architecture and construction from both the universities and Institutes of Technology. This situation has started to improve this year but the shortage will continue for at least the next 5 years. We will probably have to import people from abroad into the construction industry to meet our housing and infrastructure targets.

Where would you like to see the industry in 10 years time?
The industry in 2027 will be an essential component of a strong smart growth economy providing the future buildings and infrastructure on which future generations will depend. Globally new buildings will be designed using BIM Technology and using longer life innovative materials and processes.

Interview with PJ Rudden, Director, RPS, was facilitated by the Sunday Business Post.

PJ Rudden is a guest speaker at the CIF Annual Conference 2016, which is taking place on October 6th in Croke Park. Further information and tickets can be found at:

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