Jun 30, 2021

5 Mins With ... Padraig Finn from Dornan Group

Dominic Ellis
6 min
Padraig Finn, Operations Director at Dornan Group, highlights its key strategies, new European Pharma push and digital transformation priorities

Padraig Finn is Operations Director at Dornan Group, which delivers complex projects across a broad range of industrial and commercial sectors. The Ireland-based group anticipates over €5bn investment from the sector within Europe over the next five years in Pharmaceutical projects including Biotech, Fill Finish, API, Gene & Cell Therapy as well as blood fractionation and vaccines and is preparing to support its existing and future clients to meet this demand.

Tell us about Dornan Group and key strategies for 2021/22?

We are one of the largest specialist construction firms in Europe. At Dornan Group we provide integrated end-to-end solutions for mechanical, electrical, instrumentation and fit-out services to the construction industry, including biotechnology, pharmaceutical, semi-conductor, data centre, industrial, commercial and manufacturing clients.

We are head-quartered in Ireland but have a strong foothold across the UK and mainland Europe. We directly employ more than 1,300 people across our various offices and projects in Ireland, UK, Europe and the Nordics, and employ a further 2,500 through our supply chain in these regions. 

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, we posted a record turnover of €486m in 2020, up from €332m in 2019. Dornan Group now has it eyes on further growth for 2021 and beyond, with specific focus on the rapidly growing pharmaceutical sector. With long-standing expertise in this sector, Dornan is placing renewed focused on its European pharmaceutical operations wing, further strengthening its capabilities to provide innovative solutions to existing and future clients.

We have already made a number of strategic hires in the last year to support our ambitious growth plans and we are currently recruiting for a number of senior roles experienced in Pharma project delivery, including, Project Directors, Project Managers, Commercial Managers, Project Controls, Construction Managers & Supervisors within our European pharmaceutical operations. The new roles will be across a range of specialities, encompassing engineering, construction, and commissioning. Joining Dornan Group now to be part of our expanding European pharmaceutical operations will present huge growth opportunities for people who want to take the next step in their career development.  

Specifically in Pharma, explain what the new European Pharmaceutical Operations Wing offers to clients?

The pharmaceutical sector has experienced rapid growth in recent years, and we anticipate a significant investment within Europe over the next five years in projects ranging from biotech to fill finish, API, and cell & gene therapy as well as blood fractionation and vaccines.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of the pharmaceutical sector’s ability to adapt quickly to respond to health crises. From retrofitting facilities to enable pharmaceutical clients to switch functions to expanding sites to scale up production, the engineering and construction industry plays a critical role in helping the pharmaceutical sector respond quickly and efficiently to rapidly changing demands and environments. 

Dornan Group was one of the first Irish construction companies to expand into Europe almost 15 years ago and we’re now looking to use Ireland as a base to grow our pharmaceutical client base in Europe and Switzerland having recently won another large project in Belgium with a global biopharma company, focusing on neurology and immunology. 

As a result of working closely with the many pharmaceutical multinationals that have come to Ireland over the last fifty plus years, we have developed a unique skillset around the engineering and construction of specialist pharmaceutical facilities. We are now in a position to bring this specialist skillset to our core clients across Europe through our European pharmaceutical operations wing.   

What key trends do you see in healthcare logistics and digital transformation?

The convergence of tech and health is becoming reality and digital transformation is enabling us to deliver the most efficient results for clients.

In recent years, the impact digital transformation and innovation has had on the way we execute and deliver projects has been nothing short of transformative. With construction needing to be leaner and greener, Dornan Group is embedding digital solutions into workflows that are key to accelerating the delivery of critical fast track projects while increasing productivity and creating efficiencies throughout our lean engineering and construction processes. Our goal is to promote an ethos of “technology enabled execution” in support of high-performance culture and profitable growth business strategies.

At Dornan Group, our teams are well positioned to deliver strategic management and rapid implementation of a multi-faceted Digital Technology Roadmap including platforms such as SmartPlant, 3D Modelling, Intelligent P&IDs, Navisworks, Automated Design, 4D-to-7D Solutions, BIM360, Datacentric 3D Environment, Immersive Visual Technology and Collaborative Interface Technology

Dornan has a reputation as a progressive construction company, continually investing in the latest technology, software and hardware, and in training programmes to ensure our people work comfortably and effectively with these technologies. This means our clients always get state-of-the-art engineered solutions, and with virtual and augmented reality technology, our clients can assess solutions in real-time before construction starts.

How is business in other key areas - data centres, industrial, commercial and manufacturing?

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic we are very fortunate to have recorded a terrific performance across our various sectors and geographies in 2020. Outside of the success we’ve had with our Pharmaceutical clients, we continue to win data centre, commercial and manufacturing projects across Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and most recently a large Industrial Instrumentation project in Germany.

In Ireland, as we are focused primarily in pharmaceuticals and data centres, much of our work continued unaffected throughout the pandemic and we recorded the strongest turnover in the history of the company.

Throughout the pandemic, the health and safety of our employees has remained our number one priority and we look forward to continued growth and success across our various sectors and regions in 2021.

What measures are you taking to promote sustainability and net zero targets?

Sustainability is a major business priority for Dornan Group. As demand for low carbon and sustainable construction continues to increase, we are always looking to find the best solutions to meet our environmental obligations. Our work requires us to be energy efficiency experts, and we work closely with our clients to design these efficiencies and sustainable considerations into the projects we undertake. On a day-to-day level, we take waste management very seriously and implement effective systems for minimum wastage, maximum recyclability and responsible disposal.

An important focus for us is sustainable procurement, where we seek to meet our customer requirements by ensuring the best value sourcing of products and services, while taking into account environmental, social and ethical aspects over the whole product or service lifecycle.  We see this as essential and efficient business practice, which is integral to the way we work. It helps us to make properly informed and balanced decisions when procuring the products and services needed for our projects.

At Dornan we also use the Supply Chain Sustainability School which is a virtual learning environment that helps construction suppliers and sub-contractors to develop their sustainability knowledge and competence. The School has a number of sector leadership groups/modules developing specific sustainability competence in facilities management, infrastructure and offsite management.

Our long-term goal is to become carbon neutral, and we are taking proactive steps now to ensure this becomes a reality. We recently retained a consultant to support us in becoming a greener company. We’re also looking beyond how we behave as a company and reaching into our supply chain and helping them to support our strategy in becoming a greener business. We believe that if a collective effort is made now, we will see significant improvements over the coming years.

Share article

Jul 22, 2021

Tokyo 'most expensive city' for construction

Dominic Ellis
2 min
The International Construction Market Survey 2021 by Turner & Townsend found Tokyo the most costly city for construction

Tokyo has picked up an unenviable gold medal after being classified the most expensive city for construction.

As the Japanese city prepares a subdued opening to the Olympic Games on Friday, the International Construction Market Survey 2021 by Turner & Townsend found it was the most costly for building, with an average cost of $4,002 per sqm, followed by Hong Kong ($3,894 per sqm) and San Francisco ($3,720 per sqm). New York and Geneva were ranked fourth and fifth respectively. 

The survey forecasts that rising prices being seen in the global construction sector will be sustained through 2022 and into 2023. 

The widespread disruption to global supply chains witnessed through the pandemic is also being sustained by high demand and competition for key materials between global markets including the US, Europe and Asia. 

Globally, demand for steel, softwood and copper piping have seen prices rise sharply over the year, with increases of up to 40 percent seen in some international cities including Tokyo, Sydney, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Birmingham, Glasgow and Dublin.

As activity accelerates, supply chain constraints are increasing and skills shortages are worsening, resulting in substantial construction cost inflation in many markets.

Neil Bullen, Global Managing Director, Real Estate Turner & Townsend said material shortages have undoubtedly recast the client and supplier dynamic and there is currently a shift in power from client to supplier in many markets around the world.

"Companies need to work closely with their supply chains to guard against these risks – moving from a ‘just in time’ to a ‘just in case’ approach to delivery," he said. “Beyond material and skills shortages, public and private sector clients across the world are juggling multiple, competing goals and priorities. From accommodating hybrid working patterns, to embedding social value into their operations and taking concrete steps towards net zero, success is no longer judged by the old mantra of ‘better faster, cheaper’.”

London ($3,203 per sqm), which ranked third in 2019’s report, fell to eighth place behind Geneva, Zurich, and Boston. The fall in ranking reflects the buoyancy of other construction markets and the combined effects of Brexit and COVID-19, which placed many projects on hold, restricting demand for new work in 2020.

According to the research, the most buoyant construction sector across all 90 markets are data centres, driven by the unabated growth in technology and digitalisation. It is the first year that data centres have topped the ranking moving up from sixth position in 2019.

Share article