Significant progress on major projects
Underlying risks of construction sector causing concern
BAM Ireland has had another strong year, reporting turnover in 2018 of €523.6m (a 13% increase on 2017) and pre-tax profits of €14m. A significant increase in activity in the private-sector market in Ireland, strong activity in the privately financed PPP sector and continued strong involvement in public sector work, have contributed in large part to the year’s success.
2018 saw BAM make substantial progress in its drive to be recognised as a sector and national leader in tackling climate change. It has committed to purchasing 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2020, investing €1.5m in converting its fleet to electric vehicles and increasing use of environmentally friendly materials. Overall it has committed to halving its CO2 intensity by 2030 and is one of only 200 companies globally to have this target scientifically approved through the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Major projects have been ongoing nationwide, with BAM’s signature green and orange cranes being seen across the country. Construction was completed on One Microsoft Place. This saw 2,000 Microsoft employees integrated into one 35,000 sq m location. Work was finished at the new high-quality mixed-use development Block One Molesworth Street in Dublin, and construction began at a number of new locations. These included the old Beamish and Crawford site in Cork, which when complete, will host new student accommodation and the long-awaited Cork Events Centre; Navigation Square in Cork, comprising four separate buildings encompassing 360,000 sq ft of offices; and Horgan’s Quay. The latter represents a significant transformation to Cork’s Lee-side, comprising 27,000 sq m of office space, 325 apartments, a 120-bed hotel, 2,200 sq m of mixed retail and 6,000 sq m of new public space with direct access to public transport.
Significant progress was made across BAM’s public sector portfolio in 2018. BAM was confirmed as the main contractor for Phase B of the New Children’s Hospital, having begun work on the first phase the year previous. The N25 New Ross Bypass PPP Scheme has now connected the counties of Wexford and Kilkenny by a 900m extradosed bridge over the River Barrow. Due to open in the coming months, it will be the longest bridge in Ireland, and the longest bridge of its kind in the world. BAM also delivered the Air Traffic Visual Control (ATVC) tower at Dublin Airport – the country’s tallest occupied structure, measuring 86.9m. In addition to this, several courts and school PPP bundles, including courthouses at Drogheda, Letterkenny and Limerick and schools at Clare, Tipperary, Louth and Cork were signed off and are now in their 25-year maintenance period.
Commenting on the results, Theo Cullinane, BAM Ireland CEO said:
“I am pleased to report on yet another successful year at BAM, marked by strong progress on some of the country’s most significant private projects, including the Navigation Square and Horgan’s Quay developments in Cork and the renovation of Dublin’s Bolands Quay into a home for one of the world’s tech leaders. We were also awarded the contract for Phase B of the New Children’s Hospital and continued work on the N25 New Ross Bypass PPP scheme.
“We have also strengthened our position as a leader in our sector in tackling climate change. Construction is obviously a vital industry, but by its nature, it is resource-intensive. We have taken a number of measures to meet our serious commitment of halving our carbon intensity by 2030, and we will not relent in this regard.
“Our turnover has increased by 13% year-on-year, spurred on by the continuing upturn in construction activity seen across Ireland in recent years. We currently employ over 2,000 people, both directly and indirectly, across our sites and offices. To all of these people, I wish to express my sincere gratitude for their contribution to a fruitful 2018.”
Despite the increased activity, Theo Cullinane pointed to several ongoing issues for the construction sector.
“It continues to remain in a fragile state, and we have just seen the first contraction of the Purchasing Managers Index for several years. Little progress has been made on delivering much needed Infrastructural projects. Margins remain far too low and make reinvestment difficult. We have all seen the problems caused by the reliance on adversarial public contracts and processes, confirmed by the PwC report, which is something BAM has been flagging for many years. This has the real potential to cast doubt over the Government’s ability to deliver the Project Ireland 2040 plans, especially if large international firms are not willing to partner on their delivery. I welcome the recent comments by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform that these are to be reviewed and would strongly recommend the adoption of Early Contractor Involvement in major public projects of scale. Government must take its share of the risk on major projects; this will achieve better oversight, better certainty on costs and better outcomes for taxpayers’ money.”
About BAM Ireland
BAM Ireland was established in 1958 and now stands as one of the country’s largest construction companies, placing third in the CIF Construction magazine Top 50 for last year. It is an operating company of Royal BAM Group, which has operations in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany and internationally through BAM International. Its principal activities are building contracting and civil engineering in the public, private and PPP sectors. Other activities include facilities management, residential and property development, and rail infrastructure.