Michael Stone has been elected the new President of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).
Michael will serve as the head of the CIF and leader of the CIF’s Executive Body for the next two years.
Michael Stone is the founder and CEO of Designer Group, one of Ireland’s leading engineering contractors which operates extensively throughout Ireland and the UK. Some of the key projects he has been involved in include the new Diageo brewery in St. James’ Gate, the redevelopment of Clery’s Department Store, the Olympic International Broadcast Centre for the 2012 Games in London, the redevelopment of the iconic Adelphi Building in London as well as works on the Mater Hospital, UCD, Trinity College and the General Post Office.
Before founding Designer Group he had an extensive career with the ESB. During his time in the CIF he has also served as President of the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the Mechanical Engineering & Building Services Contractors Association (MEBSCA).
Following his election as CIF President, Michael Stone set out an ambitious plan for the development of the CIF over the next two years. “I’ve been a member of the CIF for the past 16 years and I am acutely aware of the honour it is to be selected and to serve as President of this organisation – one of the most important representative bodies in the country,” he said. “I am also very conscious that the role brings with it a huge amount of responsibility and challenges.
“Looking forward to the next two years as President, the top five items that I want to address are:
- The perception of our industry
- The dramatic fall off in apprenticeships
- The lack of finance in the marketplace for house builders
- The Government Contracts and the Construction Contracts Act
- Higher standards for our industry
“I believe our industry is still fighting a perception problem. There are still some people who see the CIF as the body that represents developers – some of whom delivered poor quality buildings and housing. We need to be seen as the body that represents the construction sector. The body whose members build pharmaceutical plants, schools, hospitals, company headquarters, roads, bridges, tunnels and water treatment plants as well as houses and apartments. The clients of our members are as diverse as public sector bodies, FDI companies, property and land owners and regular home owners all over the country.
“We need to be seen to be representing the construction element of development companies. We need to continue working with Government and provide them with solutions to some of the problems that our people and economy are facing.
“I also think we are facing an imminent and serious problem with the lack of skilled persons in the marketplace to carry out projects as the market picks up. We need to come together to address this problem. I would particularly ask that the larger main contractors in our organisation would step up to the plate and start hiring trainees and apprentices directly again. We have a moral obligation to do so for the long term good of the industry. We should continue to press the Government to introduce incentives for employers but that alone should not be the sole reason for doing it.
“The lack of finance in the marketplace is a big worry for house building companies. It is preventing a lot of house builders who, because of the recession, no longer have the cash reserves to make up the shortfall between bank finance and the cost of building. We need to clear this logjam and get a solution that will allow for house building to reach the needs of our population again.
“We all know the problems we are facing with the Government Contracts, which have caused huge issues for contractors right around the country. Discussions have taken place with the review body on necessary changes to these contracts and we are hoping for a positive outcome on this issue. This needs to happen quickly.
“The same is the case with the Construction Contracts Act. We have been promised this will be up and running by next spring and we just cannot wait any longer. It is now over 1,660 days since that Bill was introduced and almost a year and a half since it was signed into law by President Higgins.
“Finally I would like to talk about the issue of standards in the industry. We really need to take charge of this so as to ensure we are delivering our services to world class standards. That should be what this industry is striving towards – anything less is only going to hold the industry back and create problems for the sector and our reputation at home and abroad,” Mr. Stone concluded.