Construction professionals briefed on exports

Architectural and engineering practices are being encouraged by Invest Northern Ireland to look abroad for new business opportunities.

Around 40 senior managers from local practices were briefed recently on opportunities developing in markets such as Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and India.

The ‘Generating New Business in Export Markets’ briefing was organised as part of Invest NI’s  professional services strategy, and its focus was on architectural and engineering services as a high export potential group of professional services businesses.

A number of professional practices have already taken part in Invest NI initiatives in markets such as Saudi Arabia and Poland.

In addition Invest NI has been encouraging local companies to explore business opportunities from the huge investment in infrastructure and sports facilities associated with the forthcoming London Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

Commenting on the latest initiative, organised by Invest NI’s Professional Services Team in conjunction with the agency’s Trade Division, George McKinney, the team’s manager, said: “The architectural and engineering sector in Northern Ireland has a wealth of experience and expertise in the delivery of a broad range of projects, including sophisticated infrastructural developments, major public and private building programmes, and residential schemes.

“Such knowledge and skills are in demand in other more buoyant markets especially those which are still spending on infrastructure and economic development.

“Our research shows that the opportunities in oil and gas rich markets of the Middle East and in parts of Europe still benefiting from EU funding programmes are very significant.

“We’ve already helped a number of professional practices to look beyond Northern Ireland and they are keen to work with others who are prepared to invest the time and other resources required to examine key global markets.

“Opportunities for architects and engineers are also developing in newer technology areas such as sustainable building techniques and alternative energy structures,” he added.