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Sun August 07 2022

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Irish timber-frame maker to expand

31 May One of Ireland’s largest manufacturers of timber-frame houses is to create 50 jobs and grow its operations by 60%.

L-R: John Desmond, Leo Varadkar and Tom Kelly
L-R: John Desmond, Leo Varadkar and Tom Kelly

Cygnum has announced its plans to increase its output to help meet the targets set out by Ireland’s Housing for All strategy. The company – which designs, manufactures and installs timber-frame houses – aims to increase its overall output by more than 60% over the next two to years. It said that this will lead to the creation of 50 new jobs following an investment of €7m during the past 5 years.

The company, which has been operating in Macroom since 1997, currently produces 850 houses for the Irish market each year. Following the investment, the company’s aim is to produce 1,350 homes a year.

The market share of timber frame construction has grown in recent years, from 37% of developments in 2019, to 48% in 2021. According to Forest Industries Ireland (FII), rapid-build timber homes have the dual benefits of only needing three to five months to construct, whilst also saving 12 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions versus conventional builds.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said: “It’s great to be here in Macroom for this significant announcement by Cygnum. The 50 new jobs and the increased output are a boost for the company and for the area. This expansion will also help the Government’s efforts to increase the housing supply, with Cygnum producing timber frames for 1,350 homes every year. These are quicker to construct and also help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. With a record number of people now at work in Ireland, I remain determined to ensure that jobs are available right across the country. Companies like Cygnum make that possible. I’m delighted to meet so many of those that have helped this success happen and I wish the team all the very best for the future.”

"The demand for timber frame housing is growing steadily year-on-year,” said John Desmond, managing director at Cygnum. “Timber is the most environmentally friendly mainstream construction material, which means that the houses we manufacture are not only helping to tackle Ireland’s housing crisis, but also supporting the transition to a carbon neutral future. Over the last five years, we have invested €7m at our site here in Macroom, which will ultimately lead to the creation of up to 50 new jobs.”

Tom Kelly, divisional manager, industrial and lifesciences at Enterprise Ireland, said: “Enterprise Ireland is very keen to support Irish companies as they scale and grow, and Cygnum is a fantastic example of this partnership. Enterprise Ireland recently launched the ‘Built To Innovate’ funding programme, an initiative under the government’s Housing For All plan to improve productivity and reduce the cost of residential construction. Cygnum represents operational excellence in timber frame house manufacturing. It is participating in Enterprise Ireland’s productivity improvement programmes and its growth plans will see it well placed to help Ireland tackle the challenge of delivering new, environmentally and economically sustainable housing. I would like to wish John Desmond and his team the very best with their plans, and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the years ahead.”

The Cygnum facility in Macroom currently produces five houses per day. The team engineers and designs the structural timber frame walls, floors and roofs. The digital information is then transferred to the automated processing lines on the factory floor, before the finished product is loaded onto trucks for assembly on site.

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