Infrastructure is such a fundamental part of the Anglo Irish economy
"Skills shortage is a chronic issue on both sides of the Irish Sea and more intensive lobbying of the UK government to recognise Construction trades as key workers is essential", says Chris Davies Managing director of DRS Bond Management Limited
What's your name?
What’s your current job?
Managing Director of DRS Bond Management Limited
How long have you held the position?
10 years, since formation
Can you describe your daily work routine?
I don’t really have a “routine” as such. Occasionally there is a need to react to events but as the business has expanded, the team we have built tends to mean this happens less and less.
As we have built our business in Ireland over the last 18 months, I have spent up to 2 days a week there. We now have a local CEO, Paul D’Alton and Non-Exec, David Pierce and are expanding the team, meaning I will be there much less frequently.
We are now developing a new revenue stream, which is likely to absorb a similar amount of time over the same sort of period.
Daily objectives may vary slightly each day but in common with my fellow MD, Fiona Recker, we are broadly looking to make an impact by influencing things for our supply chain, be they clients, sureties or corporate partners.
What is your professional background?
Commercial insurance broking with an increasing focus over time on the Construction industry. I was latterly Director of Construction for a national firm, tasked with designing and arranging insurance and risk management programmes as well as surety bonds.
When it came time to start the business, my partner and I agreed that we wanted to be in a niche where our company could become the market leader. There are over 2,500 general insurance brokers in the UK and less than 20 surety bond specialists.
Tell me about yourself away from work?
The business takes up a lot of head space so downtime and particularly, family time, is key.
I swim a little and if Chelsea are playing at Stamford Bridge, I’ll usually be there.
It is important to keep abreast of current affairs now more than ever, not least given the B word. Using a variety of analogue and digital sources hopefully prevents me becoming too one eyed in my world view.
Box set bingeing is a guilty pleasure.
Tell us something very few people know about you?
I can occasionally be persuaded to sing Elvis Presley songs.
You are speaking at the forthcoming 2019 UK Ireland Construction Forum. What is the focus of your talk?
I am part of a panel that will discuss Financing for Construction. We will cover financing options, including debt finance and look at the competition for a (seemingly) ever reducing supply of capital.
Infrastructure is such a fundamental part of the Anglo Irish economy. Whilst Ireland’s National Development Plan and Project 2040 have been criticised for delays in actually mobilising, at least there is a plan.
The announcement that HS2 is under review, whilst unsurprising politically, is disappointing. If that and the 3rd runway at Heathrow are scrapped, the UK will struggle to avoid the worst effects of an economic downturn.
What in your opinion are the key opportunities for collaboration and growth in both markets?
I would like to see more companies from both sides of the Irish Sea set up operations in the UK and Ireland.
Skills shortage is a chronic issue on both sides of the Irish Sea and more intensive lobbying of the UK government to recognise Construction trades as key workers is essential. This may facilitate greater labour fluidity, which is critical to economic growth.
The industry also needs to look at the R&D Tax Credits scheme, which is generous in both the UK and Ireland. It rewards innovation, which just about every company does.
How do you see the construction sector changing over the next decade?
The move towards de-carbonisation has relentless momentum. The use of offsite manufacturing, once fully leveraged will improve the industry’s carbon footprint, whilst helping improve efficiency and provide greater cost and programme certainty.
Digital is already becoming prominent, not least in the Tier 1 contractors. That will undoubtedly be adopted throughout the supply chain.
Robotics and other AI are likely to revolutionise things dramatically. I’m all for optimising productivity but there is a big debate that needs to be had around how far as a society we want AI to go.
Chris Davies will be speaking at The UK & Ireland Construction Forum on September 18th in the Leonardo Royal Hotel, St. Paul's London.
For more information & ticket options visit www.ukirelandconstruction.com