Irish Contractors and Data Centres: A Perfect Match

Senior Construction Recruitment Consultant with Azon Recruitment Group, Tony Barry lays out why construction workers should keep a keen eye the Data Centre sector.

The Boom is Back

It might not be too bold a statement to suggest that the Irish Construction industry is as busy now as it was during the Celtic Tiger days – business is booming, with contractors and property developers building projects on a larger scale and at a faster rate than ever before.

As of last month there were 120+ cranes in Dublin’s skyline with numerous plans in the pipeline all over the country. Limerick has it’s 2030 development program with over €1 billion euro to be spent on the region in the next 10 years, Galway is host to some massive redevelopment sites and Cork has consistent, ongoing investment going into it. Construction in Ireland is only going one way for the medium to long term and that’s upwards… literally!

Data Centre Builds

An area in the industry which has seen massive growth is Data Centre builds. Recently I attended the National Data Centre Ireland annual conference with speakers from ARUP, John Paul, Suir Engineering, Ardmac and Collen. Since 1998 Ireland has been involved in building Data Centres both nationally and internationally. Towards the end of the Celtic Tiger, many Data Centre were built, only to face the reality of sinking property prices. However, this abundance of cheap Data Centers lead to large MNCs investing in Ireland and making it a new European hub for data infrastructure.

The key issues for Data Centre projects are site selection, alternatives on offer and local conditions (the ecology visual impact). While the Apple planning case didn’t eventually go through in Ireland, both the government and the IDA have now put processes and frameworks in place to ensure such issues won’t be a problem going forward.

In addition to contractors’ efforts, the IDA has played a significant role in promoting and endorsing the industry through its lobbying of companies to relocate here. Ireland’s attractive low corporation tax regime undoubtedly plays a major role and there are now thousands of Irish suppliers supporting Data Centre builds throughout the country. For example, there are currently 13 Amazon Data centres in Ireland with each of the top 3 global cloud IT companies having a strong data centre presence here too.  This has influenced many more multinational companies to consider Ireland as a base in which to locate their firms, allowing these businesses to position their offices in close proximity to their Data Centres.

An International Opportunity

Indeed, because Ireland has performed so well in the building of these Data Centres, it has created a platform for Irish contractors throughout Europe to work for major clients in Denmark, Sweden, Holland and Germany and further afield in Bahrain & Saudi Arabia. Ireland’s skilled and highly educated labour force makes contractors very appealing to MNC’s, while Irish companies have shown their ability to guide customers’ aspirations and goals by understanding unions, local laws and employment legislation on a global scale.

As Irish companies are becoming more systematic and IT savvy this has created a huge demand for contractors with Integrated Project Delivery which creates a more collaborative approach for both M&E and building contractors. All this combines into more streamlined, efficient projects, making Irish contractors even more attractive.

All in all, Irish contractors are growing in terms of Data Centre build capabilities both on a national and international scale. The real challenge now is the fight for talent to work on these builds. Paid travel, subsistence allowances and more benefits are on offer for skilled candidates who then get to go ‘on tour’, getting involved in large scale projects worth hundreds of millions of Euro.

The future looks bright!

If you would like the opportunity to work on a multi-million euro data centre either at home or abroad feel free to drop Tony Barry an email at tbarry@azon.ie, or visit HERE to view our open Construction roles.

Azon Recruitment Group Senior Construction Recruitment Consultant, Tony Barry

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