11th March 2024

Meet Craig Allen, Managing Director of Industrial

We sat down with Craig Allen, Managing Director of Industrial at Sir Robert McAlpine to discuss the industrial sector and its outlook for 2024.


Sir Robert McAlpine has a long and established history in the industrial sector, notably playing a crucial role in the construction of the UK’s most iconic film production studios and manufacturing sites. Now, as the Government ramps up pressure on a nationwide push for decarbonisation and clean energy, a new pipeline of projects is emerging, and the outlook for the sector is one of growth. 

To mark this new chapter of development, we sat down with Craig Allen, Sir Robert McAlpine’s Managing Director of Industrial, for an in-depth discussion about the industrial sector and its outlook for 2024. 

Getting started in construction  

Craig has always had his heart set on construction and was first introduced to the construction industry helping out his builder uncle during the school holiday. Starting out as an apprentice bricklayer at the age of 16, he went on to complete a Construction Management degree at the University of South Wales. He went on to work on many interesting projects including the new International Airport in Hong Kong and the Principality Stadium in Cardiff before then joining Sir Robert McAlpine in 2018. 

He is now leading Sir Robert McAlpine’s industrial sector in the delivery of complex and high-value projects. With a team that prides itself on excellence and digital innovation, Craig is confident in pursuing projects that others may shy away from. 

“The more complex a building, the better for us. Most contractors run away from complexity, but we will run towards it because we are confident in our ability to deliver.” 

Looking ahead 

In his mind, process integration needs to lie at the heart of Sir Robert McAlpine’s industrial sector approach and provides his team with a strong competitive edge. Functionality and purpose are at the forefront of every project. 

“It’s about getting into the clients’ mind and working closely with them each step of the way so that you understand perfectly how their operation needs to work and function.” 

With sustainability at the forefront of the industrial sector's evolutiom, green construction practices, eco-friendly materials, and energy-efficient technologies will become standard. The industry is poised to embrace circular economy principles, minimising waste and maximising resource utilisation. The decarbonisation of existing stock and recycling of materials for key industrial sites are both quickly becoming key cornerstones of Craig’s practice. With the industrial sector well positioned to be a key ally in ensuring the UK’s future is robust, resilient, and sustainable, Craig sees their role as crucial in delivering on environmental commitments. 

In tandem with a budding environmental agenda, technology is also evolving and assisting in the creation of new client experiences. For example, new technology has allowed Craig’s team to evaluate the logistics of the project before even stepping foot on site, with new augmented reality devices being deployed on projects to provide clients with completed rooms in visual format. Excitingly, this deployment of technological expertise is only set to grow, with the use of drone technology and 3D printing already on the cards for the near  future. 

“The industrial sector is perhaps the most dynamic space in construction right now; a blank canvas, which we are ready to build upon. There’s a real buzz about the sector and we are excited about the scale, size and social impact of projects we’ll be undertaking.” 

Future security 

Recent geopolitical world events have led to sustained supply chain disruption on a level that we have never witnessed, which has subsequently driven a reshoring of manufacturing facilities in the UK. Collaboration with supply chain partners  will be fundamental to riding this wave and helping to ensure Sir Robert McAlpine is on the best foot to tackle the size and volume of projects coming down the track. 

Ultimately, for Craig, it all comes back to people, processes and communities.  Making a difference has always been his top priority. After all, industrial projects add value to the local community – whether it’s a place of employment, or something that will have a transformative impact on the local area and last for generations.  

From a social impact point of view, the industrial sector fosters job creation as well as economic growth. The construction of industrial projects itself generates employment opportunities, while the subsequent operation of these facilities contributes to sustained economic vitality hugely benefiting local communities.

Craig Allen Managing Director of Industrial

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