Construction Industry Federation
When we discuss the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP) and Housing for All, there is a real sense in the construction and development sector that we need to implement these plans urgently.
The sense of urgency and the delivery targets in Housing for All and the NDP need to be considered as targets for all sectors involved in the delivery of Irelands infrastructure. That of course includes the construction industry, but also the planning system, the courts, Irish Water, County Councils, semi-state agencies and Government departments.
Change in regulatory framework
Following the last recession, Ireland implemented sweeping changes in our regulatory environment to ensure mistakes of the past were not repeated. As well as all these regulatory changes, there has been a change in mindset amongst many decision makers that has resulted in lengthier processes.
Sometimes there is an excessive search for perfection in all aspects of our built environment. There will never be the perfect time to go to tender, there will never be the perfect Development Plan, there will never be the perfect housing policy.
The National Development Plan can also play a significant role by putting in place the necessary infrastructure to facilitate residential development.
Increasing development costs
Unfortunately, too many of these changes in the regulatory environment have resulted in significant costs being placed on those purchasing services in the built environment. It is one of the most significant reasons that we cannot build enough units as the development costs associated with housing provision are burdened on those trying to enter the market for the first time. The constraints on developing residential units in Ireland is without doubt the most extensive in Europe.
Infrastructure needed for residential development
The National Development Plan can also play a significant role by putting in place the necessary infrastructure to facilitate residential development. One of the most significant infrastructural deficits that is impeding greater output by the residential sector is the provision of water and wastewater infrastructure. The allocation of €1.6 billion to Irish Water in 2022 should result in a significant increase in essential water infrastructure to facilitate development on zoned lands. Put simply without the pipes in the ground development cannot take place. The construction sector is willing to play its part by being more productive in the way we service the needs of the country by adopting new technologies, using more sustainable methods of construction and recruiting more workers. But we need a clear path in front of use where implementation and targets are adopted and embraced by all.