BRegs Weekly | 3 March 2017

03 March 2017 – BRegs Weekly 50- Edition 100

Edition 100 of BRegs Weekly is out now.

Ireland has thousands of defective properties, state and privately owned, as a legacy of the building boom.  The state’s reliance on a unique privatised ‘self-regulated’ system of building control means that employees of developers continue to sign-off on safety and quality.  An article by Paul Melia in the Independent highlighted the resultant poor standards in the private rented sector:

“…Two out of every three homes inspected by local authority staff fail to meet minimum standards amid growing unease about tenants being exploited by landlords.  Official figures reveal that not one privately rented home in Dún Laoghaire, Kilkenny, Limerick or Offaly was considered to be suitable for letting, with a failure rate of 50% or more in 22 city and county council areas.  Stark figures from the Department of Housing show that basic amenities such as hot and cold running water and washing facilities are not being provided by some landlords, despite commanding high rents.”

The issue was highlighted in an article in the Irish Examiner.  Cork Council chief executive Tim Lucey said “…significant costs and resources were needed to reach the target of inspecting every rented house every four years. A decision was made at the county council meeting to express members’ concerns to Mr Coveney.” 

A perfect storm for the housing sector- Increasing prices in construction coupled with skills shortages?

Construction tender prices in Ireland increased by 2.9% in the second half of 2016 according to the latest Tender Price Index published by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.  According to the SCSI index, prices increased by 6.3% for the year as a whole.  While the index relates to non-residential construction projects the SCSI said it was inevitable that rising prices would have a knock on effect on house building costs.  SCSI representative Micheal Mahon said, “It would appear that there is an increasing amount of construction activity being undertaken in the regions as well as a migration of contractors and labour towards the GDA, particularly from the ‘commuter belt’ counties, resulting in fewer resources within the regions to undertake construction works. This has led to a shortage of resources across multiple trades for both main contractors and specialist sub-contractors.”

A worrying parallel trend is the skills shortage in the construction sector.  The September – December 2016 InterTradeIreland Business Monitor Report, issued on Monday, shows that 37% of construction companies surveyed reported difficulties recruiting skilled labour, with 33 per cent citing a lack of appropriate skills in their current workforce.  Policy Director Aidan Gough said “The construction sector was hit harder than others during the downturn but is reporting robust signs of resurgence with 82% reporting they are stable or in growth. Over 75% of businesses in the sector say they are profitable or very profitable. However an emerging skills shortage in the construction sector is obviously an obstacle to continued growth. This may lead to building firms beginning to feel the pinch in terms of the acquisition of new contracts and servicing the needs of fuller order books.”

The BRegs Weekly e-zine gathers all recent social media discussions relating to Building Control Regulations into one weekly digest. It is published every Friday and gives a round-up of news highlights for the week.  We recommend signing up for an automatic subscription to keep up with the discussion surrounding the current annual review of the BC(A)R, and more recent media articles and stories about building control and the impacts on the consumer and construction industry.

Click Here to read: BRegs Weekly 50- Edition 100

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