The emergence of the fit out sector in Northern Ireland
Recently I was asked my opinion on the fastest emerging industrial sector within Northern Ireland. Whilst Agri-food and manufacturing are the obvious answers, for me personally, this last 5 years I have been impressed by the emergence and growth of the fit-out sector. Relatively unknown outwith the industry, fit-out is big business and I mean BIG business. From Cruise liners to palaces, we have thousands of highly skilled craftsmen travelling the globe to meet the demand for high end luxury fit-out work. We have even seen the traditional N.I construction giants investing heavily in fit-out, making them a one stop shop for property developers. Table toppers for 2017, Graham Construction have a hugely successful fit out arm, making them one of the big boys on the UK & Ireland scene. There is still plenty going on for the smaller guys though, there are hundreds of fantastic fit out businesses in NI taking care of shops, bars, hotels, restaurants etc, making sure the experience for the customer as good as it can be. Next time you are in a bar in Belfast or Dublin, have a proper look around, you might be surprised to learn that bar was built from scratch by Lignum Interiors in Crossgar and hasn’t in fact been there for 70/80 years.
So what is fit out and why Northern Ireland? Fit out is the process of making interior spaces suitable for purpose. Most common fit out jobs would be large building and office blocks but in recent years NI has seen fit out companies tackle cruise liners, palaces, bars & restaurants, airports to name but a few. So why NI then? Simple, we have a wealth of hugely skilled workers, hardworking and willing to travel. These types of jobs are synonymous with long, unusual hours and strict deadlines and the workers here are, and historically have been, willing to tackle same. In recent years the economic downturn has meant that employers and entrepreneurs alike have been looking beyond NI for work, they found it, in spades. In America, Monaco, Singapore, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and beyond you can find Northern Irish workers tackling fit out work, it really is a golden time for this sector. The boom has also meant opportunities for suppliers of consumables and whilst the B2B sales market is crowded there is still plenty of room for forward thinking suppliers who can match the demands of the fit out sector…cough cough…check out our website…cough cough!