CIF Member Focus: Keating – Embracing Change & New Market Opportunities

11 Apr 2018

Founded in 1987 in Co Clare by Louis Keating, Keating operates across Civil, Building and Marine Engineering Sectors.

In 2017, Keating placed 25th in the CIF Top 50 Contractors. The company’s turnover for 2017 was €67m, and it now employs 100 people directly with offices in Dublin Cork and Clare.

In January of this year, Gordon O’Regan took over as Chief Executive Officer after the company was acquired by CBD Capital. With over 20 years’ industry experience, Waterford native Gordon O’Regan started his career as a Civil Engineer. Like many of his generation, he moved to the UK in the downturn, where he gained a strong grounding in the business management within Civil Engineering and Infrastructure Sector.

“I joined Tier One contractor Fitzpatrick in 2009, which was in a period of change having been recently acquired by Volker Wessels,” he explains. “At VolkerFitzpatrick, I acquired invaluable experience in senior business management roles, working on major regional rail projects and as well as being part of the London 2012 Olympic build team.”

Gordon O’Regan takes charge at Keating at a time when the company is looking to hold on to existing staff, while also attracting new talent at home and abroad.

“If we are to succeed in the coming years, we must offer people exciting and sustainable career opportunities,” he says. “Keating want ambitious people that can help us offer clients better value for money through more efficient project delivery.

“Many Irish people have been part of the BIM, and Lean construction revolution that has changed the way projects are being delivered in other parts of the world. I want to attract these people home to work for Keating. To this end, we are engaging directly with people working in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

“We are also very supportive of domestic programmes such as the new Generation Apprentice Initiative being run by Solas and CIF. These are essential programmes if we are to attract a new generation of young women and men into the sector.”

Keating is currently looking at introducing BIM Level Two to its operations.

“BIM and Lean have changed the way construction projects are delivered,” Gordon O’Regan says. “I have seen first-hand how early contractor involvement and fairer and more sustainable contracts, with project risk allocated where it should be, can deliver huge savings for clients and facilitate faster and more efficient project delivery.

“The new National Planning Framework and National Development Plan are ambitious and deliverable. If the Government is to succeed, however, project teams need to be on-board as early as possible, and the methods and contracts employed to deliver projects should have appropriate risks allocated to the people who are best placed to manage those risks.”

He mentions the NEC (New Engineering Contract), under which Keating is currently contracted for works at Dublin Port.

“We find the NEC an effective mechanism for open communications and collaborative project delivery. It’s a suite of contracts that facilitate good project management and can be applied in many situations. Many other contract types are needlessly complicated, and as a result, lead to disagreement in interpretation. The NEC sets out in plain English what has to be done and who has to do it. I would like to see NEC employed elsewhere. It is a contract type that would also help counteract the problem of below price tendering, which is not good for anybody in the sector.”

On the project front, Gordon O’Regan mentions that Keating has recently added some significant and award-winning civil and building projects to its portfolio. These include two medical facilities for US company Stryker; design and construction of quay walls and berths at Dublin Port; Cape Clear Harbour Development and storm gates; and the fast-track construction of Carlingford Ferry Marina.

“Historically, Keating‘s turnover has been linked to Government capital expenditure. Our new Strategic Plan aims to grow the business by augmenting domestic success projects with new overseas markets.

“To achieve this, we will need an ambitious, energetic and diverse team who will keep us at the forefront of the industry, I look forward to delivering on this challenge and ushering Keating into the next phase of its development,” he concludes.

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