Social Value and Community Wellbeing

Through innovating the built environment

Earlier this week, the Construction Sector Group, or CSG, for ‘Innovation and Digital Adoption’ published its Sustainability Consultation Group Report.  The scope of the report was to outline the key research areas for disruptive and scalable innovation in sustainability, carbon reduction and climate action across Ireland’s construction industry, with a focus on supporting increased construction activity. In the course of research, 100 of the industry’s key stakeholders were surveyed under the themes of Decarbonisation, Circular Built Environment, Climate Change Resilience, and Social Value & Community Wellbeing. The outcome of this survey influenced the initial proposals for research and innovation projects.


Given Ireland’s current housing crisis and the persistent societal challenges faced, a key area of focus for the CSG is built environment innovation that will ensure social value and  community wellbeing. Initial proposals aim to protect human health and wellbeing, while  supporting local economies and increasing community engagement.


Under this theme, the majority of people surveyed believe that smart mobility and multifunctional or adaptable streets are the most important innovation required. The financial value of vegetation, placemaking and urban design was also seen as a key priority, along with the digital mapping of air pollution, identification of sources and mitigation initiatives.


Specific proposals for research and innovation include social and environmental post-occupancy evaluation methodology for public buildings and projects. This entails researching suitable POE methodologies that will capture the social and environmental performance of all public buildings and projects, both existing and newly built assets. It is intended that the data be collated and used as ‘lessons learned’ for future projects. Currently, POE in public buildings is only conducted for operational energy. According to the report, there is a need to put in place a system for capturing the in-use performance of these projects and their contribution to community health and well-being, in the context of Ireland 2040 and Housing for All ambitions.


Another specific proposal involves researching successful models for community driven planning processes. This will involve a review of local and international best practice examples of community driven planning processes and then the possible creation of digital tools for better communication and participation, and for implementation of a plan for enhanced community participation with local authorities. It was acknowledged by the report that digitalisation opens up an opportunity for greater community engagement in planning, with many international cities now using digital models to test scenarios and proposed developments with input from residents.


Encouraging biodiversity across the built environment is another proposed area of research and innovation. This might involve the introduction of a ‘green area ratio’ for proposed developments. A health/cost benefit analysis of increased biodiversity in Irish towns and cities is encouraged. The report concludes that introducing a green area ratio requirement into Irish planning would encourage healthier and more resilient communities.


We look forward to seeing how these important industry research projects progress and to contributing through our in-house Innovation Boost team.




About McKeon Group:

Established in 1950, this year marks the 70th anniversary of McKeon Group, which remains a family business. ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact


McKeon Group’s Priory Youthreach Painting Day


Last year was a special one for us. 

Notwithstanding the grip Covid-19 had on the industry, and indeed on the country, in 2020, McKeon Group celebrated its 70th year in business.  As part of the anniversary celebrations, we collaborated with Ashbourne & District Lions Club to search for local heroes through the community campaign; you can read about our celebratory initiatives here:


Beyond 2020

As a team, we committed to a year of giving back and this theme continues through a series of initiatives and voluntary construction projects. Earlier this month, members of the McKeon charity innovation team gave up their weekend to spruce up Priory Youthreach, which is based in Tallaght Village. 

Youthreach is a nationwide State education programme, which, at a local level, provides academic, personal and social support for young people, in a safe and enjoyable manner.​ Priory Youthreach is run by Paul Curtis and the centre operates on a tight budget. McKeon Group had recently carried out some works for them and our contracts manager Arthur Bennett saw an opportunity to contribute so the team organised a volunteer day of internal painting of the walls to help out.

Huge thanks to all the McKeon team for their contributions and a special word of thanks to The Brass Fox in Tallaght for supporting this initiative and keeping our hardworking team fed for the day!





About McKeon Group

Established in 1950 and ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The family-run Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact:

Integrating the new generation of construction talent into a third generation firm


Digital Transformation in Construction: Bringing all the team along


2020 was a big year for the McKeon Group team as we celebrated 70 years in business Originally established by Tom McKeon back in 1950, McKeon Construction started life as one man and his van. From making bricks to crafting his own hand tools, Tom was an innovator whose work ethic and values are reflected in the company he founded, seven decades on. 

Over the past 70 years, McKeon Group has grown into a third generation, multi-million euro construction contractor in the education, residential and commercial sectors.  In 2011, the mechanical division was founded and McKeon Group was formed. By that time, McKeon Construction had already developed a technology and electrical division and was well positioned to extend the services available to clients, with a focus on innovation. In fact, last year McKeon Group was approved as a registered training provider with Engineers Ireland, offering an exciting and thought-provoking CPD ‘Innovate Together to clients and colleagues across the construction industry. You can find more information about this CPD offering here: 


The early adoption of emerging technologies for the industry has played a huge role in the successful scaling of the business. Speaking to construction technology provider Pipedrive recently, Sales & Marketing Director Paul McKenna explained “Our USP is the completion of complex projects in live environments. With that end-to-end technical skillset of a construction division, mechanical services, electrical services, there’s a minor works team, and the technology division is a separate company now called Hereworks—automation, smart buildings and more”.


Of course, digital transformation in any industry is about so much more than technology – its ultimate success always comes down to people. The most important asset of our business is the people, many of whom have been with us for decades. As the construction industry finds itself in the midst of a digital transformation (or revolution?) that has been massively accelerated as a result of Covid-19, the McKeon Group team is driving this transformation. With newly-qualified graduates working on projects alongside more established team members, we know first-hand the importance of being a progressive workplace that fosters a culture of shared learning and cooperation.


Culture is central to successful transformation

A digitally-focused company empowers the team to deliver faster and attracts the right talent from multiple disciplines. A truly successful digital culture, however, requires a workplace where everybody is open to innovation (even if they don’t agree on the methodologies!) and is ready to embrace the future. 70 years on and though much has changed for McKeon, the fundamentals remain true – a company is only as good as its people. A study by the Boston Consulting Group found that of 40 digital transformations, companies that focussed on a culture of collaboration were five times more successful than those that focused on other priorities. Integrating a new generation of talent is therefore vital to the long-term success of a forward-looking organisation.


Embracing Change

Central to the embracing of changing digital culture is demonstrating the value of new technology that can potentially transform how projects are undertaken. For example, data is already being used in construction to identify behaviour patterns amongst building teams to pinpoint pain points and possibly automate repetitive tasks. This sort of information requires interdisciplinary collaboration from the ground level up to gather machine-readable information and then convey the findings back to relevant teams. By allowing people with differing perspectives and differing levels of experience to collaborate on specific projects from the ground level up, entire companies learn to work together and embrace the benefits of transformation. Similarly, virtual and augmented reality is another exciting area of change  for construction managers and site teams, who can observe projects remotely or visualize project changes on the fly. Immersive technologies for the built environment came into their own over the pandemic and they are crucial to the future of construction, however, its adoption on site depends entirely on a digital culture being fully embraced by everyone in the team.


A culture of learning

While the construction industry has historically had a less-than-stellar reputation for the uptake of digitalization, in the post-covid landscape the time is now right for integrating technology at a deep company level. We know from experience over the past number of decades that innovation is achieved through a collaborative attitude, with shared learning at its heart. Therefore, all team members have a vital role to play in digital transformation as they are in a position to identify gaps in digital skills and identify opportunities for new and established employees to work together. In our experience, age or the number of years in the industry is not an accurate indicator of a person’s openness to new technologies, this invariably comes back to an individual having a growth mindset. Fortunately, a growth mindset is one of the characteristics we value most when recruiting new people to join our team!

 Team-led collaboration encourages knowledge sharing in the workplace and builds confidence in trialling emerging technologies to a greater extent than management-led dictats. But a culture of learning isn’t simply something that is undertaken for a while and then overlooked. We understand that success and team satisfaction ultimately depends on a workplace encouraging the continuous sharing of ideas and knowledge from all team members.


Bringing the whole team along

The most important thing is to not leave anyone behind. While the future is most certainly digital, the established ways of doing things are still something that the next generation can learn from and integrate into a workplace culture going forward. Over the last 15 months, we have found that remote gatherings of employees can be a great way to encourage this workplace culture of collaboration and connectivity. By having all team members come together and share ideas everyone gets to share perspectives and feel comfortable learning from each other. The one positive side effect of such an unprecedented crisis as that faced by the entire industry since March 2020, is that it calls for unprecedented solutions. Not all teams are comfortable with this, whereas at McKeon Group, innovation is in our DNA – quite literally.


About McKeon Group

Established in 1950 and ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The family-run Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients. For more information, contact:



McKeon Group Innovation Partner Fergal Brophy on South East Radio


Earlier this week innovation consultant Fergal Brophy, who works closely with McKeon Group, joined Karl Fitzpatrick on South East Radio to talk about the importance of innovation and how “repurposing” a business can create new revenue streams. 



McKeon Group’s new CPD offering, Innovate Together, was developed by the McKeon team and Hereworks, working closely with Fergal Brophy, who is an Entrepreneurial Specialist at UCD Innovation Academy. Fergal also lectures on Innovation Principles & Applications at the Institute of Public Administration (IPA) and is lead facilitator for the Innovation Pillar on Enterprise Ireland’s Go Global 4 Growth programme.


The Innovate Together problem-solving collaborative sessions enable participants to apply key creativity and innovation concepts to real world engineering problems and opportunities. Delivered online or in-person, each CPD offered is tailored to a specific audience and based around key themes, agreed upon in advance. These sessions demonstrate the use of Design Thinking, Lean Startup and Business Model Innovation to frame a specific problem or opportunity and to open participants up to new ways of collaborating to co-create innovative solutions. 


While the Innovate Together session has been certified for CPD points by Engineers Ireland, it is not exclusively for engineers. In fact, as a new approach to problem-solving, Design Thinking is not industry specific. It can be tailored to any organisation, within any sector or industry and there can be different themes. 


*You can find out more about ‘Innovate Together’ and contact the McKeon Group team here: 


About McKeon Group

Established in 1950, this year marks the 70th anniversary of McKeon Group, which remains a family business. ISO certified for more than two decades, McKeon Group offers expert construction, fitout and building services. The Group delivers projects, services and maintenance across a range of sectors for State, local authority, FDI and private clients.