An ambitious plan to create 60,000 construction jobs by the year 2020 has been launched by the Government today.
The stimulus package which includes a 75-point plan to remove the obstacles to new building projects and ease the housing crisis is being heralded by Enda Kenny as the route recovery in the building sector. Enda Kenny says the new plan will include systems to give an early warning of any future property bubble. Mr Kenny continued: “the Government will support this recovery, but only if it is based on the highest international standards in quality, excellence and trust. “Nobody wants to go back to the bad old days of the construction and property boom. It wouldn’t benefit the country, young families or the sector itself.”
When asked if the plan could cause a housing bubble, Mr Kenny denied the moves would create a new housing bubble, and told the Dáil that the Government would not repeat the mistakes of the past.
The Government strategy – which will include 75 measures to get builders back to work – will involve top quality and affordable new housing, he vowed. “There are 100,000 people on the live register involved in the construction industry: plasterers, block layers, chippies, tilers, roofers and everything else,” he told the Dáil.
“We want so to see that these people get an opportunity to get back into the world of work.”
Mr Kenny said the plan was not about contractors, bankers, developers or greed but about creating 66,000 jobs in the construction sector up to 2020.
Ireland should be building between 25,000 and 30,000 new homes a year but only completed 8,000 last year, he said.
The CIF said that the strategy has the potential to provide a considerable boost to construction activity and create thousands of new construction jobs. The CIF also called for the 75 actions detailed in the strategy document to be prioritised by the Government so as to ensure the recent return to growth in parts of the industry develops further. Speaking following the launch of the strategy document, CIF President Philip Crampton said, “The publication of this strategy is a very welcome initiative. We are glad to see that the Government is taking a detailed interest in the construction sector in Ireland. This is the first time all the various constraints and issues that are currently hampering construction sector activity have been set out by the Government. Now that they have been acknowledged the next step is to deliver policies and actions that will ensure these problems are overcome.”
“The CIF looks forward to working with the Government to help bring forward these policies and developing the finer details behind the various initiatives highlighted in this strategy document. With the construction sector finally returning to growth after six years of decline, we need to ensure that this momentum is fostered. So it is vitally important that the actions outlined in this strategy document are moved forward as quickly as possible. They also need to be fleshed out to take into account the realities of the current construction market.”
The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), the professional body for the construction and property sector has welcomed the Government’s Construction Strategy but said more immediate actions to improve the supply of housing are needed.
The SCSI said that while it broadly welcomed the Government’s approach – including the measure to introduce the National Framework for Housing Supply – more immediate measures are needed to improve the supply of housing in urban areas such as Dublin where price inflation is increasing at an alarming rate. Andrew Nugent, Vice President of the SCSI said “The Government’s strategy for a renewed sector is very welcome.
The ‘kick start’ initiative for prime development areas – which will include flexibility around densities as well as streamlining the planning and appeals process – will address barriers to development identified by the SCSI. “However the lack of direct measures, to improve the supply of housing, particularly in Dublin where price inflation is increasing at worrying levels is a shortcoming of the strategy.
The Housing Agency has reported that we need up to 80,000 units over the next 5 years. We built just 8,401 last year and given the fact that it can take between 18-24 months for a new scheme to be built, we would like to have seen measures to fast track the delivery of that supply to meet demand” Nugent said.
The SCSI also welcomed measures to improve data in the residential and commercial property sectors and highlighted the need for measures to include both cash and non-cash transactions to show a fuller picture of changes in property values.
The Society said measures to provide development finance and to ensure a sustainable mortgage market were also positive. The SCSI was disappointed that their recommendation to appoint a Chief Construction Adviser to drive forward the strategy was not adopted and remains concerned that the spread of the sector across many government departments could lead to challenges for the delivery of the strategy.