“It’s strange in a way”, says Eoin Leonard, chief executive at i3PT, “from the very beginning we’ve always had a very strong, almost idealistic view of what we stand for. We have always been focussed on improving standards in the built environment and driving better culture in the industry”.
It’s an approach which has served the company well. Founded in 2012, i3PT now operates across five offices in Ireland and the UK, with over 70 staff. The company operates as something of a hybrid, one part professional services provider and one part software company. It’s a common story, whereby the subject matter expert sets out on a foray into software development to help ‘solve their own problem’ only to find that they are quite good at it.
Leonard is aware of the cliché and i3PT has been careful to avoid the pitfalls. “It’s not uncommon for services businesses to create some form of ‘consult-ware’ a term sometimes used to describe software that depends heavily upon the consultancy firm to support it. It was something which we hoped to avoid.” says Leonard.
“The risk was that we create something which is either not scalable, or (even worse) we do not support the product adequately and we damage the reputation which we’ve built in our building certification business. We decided to learn as much as possible from others and invest in the software business properly, which is what we have done.”
i3PT has benefited from that investment. The company boasts an impressive client list, which includes virtually all of the top technology companies one could name. Moreover, it has achieved the unusual feat of spanning virtually all segments within the broad construction sector.
“Our services and software are used on all kinds of projects, everything from a €500m data centre to a €10m social housing development and from a pharmaceutical plant to a commercial office development.” says Leonard.
“I honestly believe that I3PT are the best company in the world at what we do, we are not yet the biggest, but I believe that we are the best. Some people may believe that this is fanciful thinking, but Ireland is an incredible place for a company such as ours to test our processes and technology.
“Thanks to the IDA, we get to work with the biggest and best companies in the world and thanks to Enterprise Ireland we have every support available to us to achieve our R&D goals. We benefit from the most sophisticated customer demand imaginable and we exceed the expectations of these customer’s every day.”
This is a common story among the companies in this year’s Deloitte Technology Fast 50. Irish companies that manage to secure multinational clients, develop world-beating intellectual property and then go on to export these products and services internationally.
It is not all down to macroeconomics though, as Leonard points out, “Culture is something of a buzzword these days, but we are very lucky to have a great one at i3PT. I believe that it stems from two things; firstly we recruit very carefully, only hiring the very best people that we can and secondly I think that our team are very much connected with the purpose of the organisation.”
Leonard notes that the business is very much focused on improving standards across a range of areas, all of which he says contribute to a safer, sustainable society.
“If we do what we do well, which is to improve quality, building safety and culture in construction, society will benefit and people will be safer in their homes, schools, workplaces and elsewhere. That is a great thing to do for a living and it’s not hard to get behind it,” Leonard says.
“Our sustainability team are also in the midst of developing some innovative new services and software, which we believe will massively impact on how property financiers consider real estate risk. If we are successful in this endeavour it can contribute significantly to decarbonisation in our industry, which we are very passionate about.
“We really do have an incredible multi-talented group of people in the company and we all get on very well too, which helps. We do try to take care of people, whether it’s putting gyms in our offices, providing performance coaching, strength and conditioning sessions (for those who want them) or just trying to be kind in our day to day dealings.”
Leonard notes that in 2020 the company made a large investment in benefits packages for their team, “Over the past year or so, one or colleagues had health scares, which led us to investing in a company-wide income protection scheme as well as other life assurance benefits. We hope they’ll never need them, but it’s of huge benefit to them if they ever did.”
i3PT’s UK business has also been thriving in uncertain times, having teamed up with the CIOB to publish the recent “Golden Thread survey”, which looks at the UK construction industry’s readiness for digitalisation. This initiative was headed up by i3PT’s chief technology officer Vicki Reynolds, who was also recognised at this year’s Deloitte awards, picking up the Women in Technology Advocate Award. Reynolds is equally excited about the future.