A new study has found that the construction industry needs to prioritise innovation and digital technology to ensure a productive and sustainable construction sector in Ireland.

The report carried out by EY reveals that Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) have the potential to increase the speed of construction of new homes by 30%.

It reveals that 40% of firms in the construction industry are not currently using any form of automated technologies.

Evidence from the survey also found that key barriers preventing firms from implementing new technologies in Ireland include the day-to-day running of the business, a lack of time and lack of financial incentives to do so.

"This report focuses on 'future proofing' the construction industry in Ireland by formulating a strategy for the next decade with innovation, digital technology and sustainability at the core," said Annette Hughes, Director of EY Ireland Economic Advisory Services and author of the report.

"There are challenges ahead, however, adopting smart construction and digital technology has the potential to transform the construction industry and significantly increase the production of quality, energy efficient new homes," she added.

Produced following research and consultation with firms and stakeholders across the construction industry, the aim of the report was to inform the design of a bespoke Construction Technology Centre to empower industry ownership of the research, development, and innovation processes required to deliver a more sustainable and competitive construction sector.

"To fully transform construction enterprises by enabling the adoption of digital technology, it must be noted that true digital business transformation is an ongoing process that requires cultural change," said Ross O’ Colmain, Department Manager, High Tech Construction and Housing, Enterprise Ireland.

"As highlighted in the report, for this Centre to enable Digital Transformation and Innovation across the construction and built environment sector in Ireland, it must focus on developing capability in three core areas - each of equal importance: People, Process and Technology," he added.