Over the last six or seven years, I have been closely involved with FIEC as Ireland’s representative on the Steering Committee. In that time, I have had the opportunity to witness first hand all the positive work that is being done by FIEC. The impact FIEC is having on not just the construction sector but also into many associated fields cannot be underestimated.
The last couple of years have been a very difficult time for the European construction sector, especially on the back of the pandemic. However, when we encountered such a difficult period, we were blessed to have such a powerhouse of construction leading the way.
Just after having emerged from the pandemic, we are now facing another massive issue in the form of the war in Ukraine. Obviously, this conflict is significantly being felt across our industry in terms of the impact on fuel and material costs, as well as on our supply chains. We have already and will continue to raise these issues with the European Commission.
The European construction industry will also have a major role to play in the rebuilding of Ukraine.
This will be a massive challenge, given the level of devastation that has been wreaked in that country since the invasion began. But President von der Leyen has committed the EU to helping to reconstruct Ukraine and FIEC and our members will play a significant part in that effort too.
Another issue that we have to be mindful of is the challenge posed by China and other Third Country jurisdictions. We have to be aware of the impact this is having across our sector, at home and abroad. FIEC and our members have rightfully built up a reputation for delivering quality work, utilising quality materials and best industry practices. That allows us to deliver work that provides lasting value to our clients.
These are the fundamental principles behind our industry’s outlook and we need to continue to communicate with our partners in Europe and further afield to ensure that these values continue to be recognised. That the playing field is level and no corners are cut.
Another area of great importance for our industry if we wish to remain competitive will be the move towards increased digitalisation. We have to consider how it influences all the different aspects of the supply chain so that we can maintain the type of global competitiveness we need.
We can either be part of that disruption or become disrupted.
A greater focus on digitalisation will also help us to become more Green. Every industry has to grasp this challenge and to consider the environmental impact of their activity. Construction is not immune and it is becoming increasingly important for Governments, businesses and consumers alike. We have to show that our industry can adapt more environmental policies and practices. We are more than capable as an industry of bringing about the greening of the European construction.
These are just some of the issues that I suspect will form part of the agenda for FIEC during my term as President.
Of course, whatever comes our way, FIEC has proven time and again how much of a positive effect it can have on our industry and how much of an impact it can have in progressing the needs of the construction sector all across Europe.
FIEC is a force for good for the construction sector and we all have our part to play in maintaining that impact. Working together, we have accomplished a lot. To continue that progress we will all need to foster that spirit of sharing knowledge and ideas for the betterment of our industry.