Chartered Surveyors welcome government Action Plan for construction jobs

But availability of development and mortgage finance remains key challenge

Thursday 27th February 2014. The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, the representative body for the construction and property sector, has welcomed the Government Action plan for Jobs which includes a number of initiatives for delivering jobs in the sector.

The SCSI said the initiatives in the Action Plan would help meet the lack of supply of houses in urban areas and modern office blocks required by multinational companies and provide much needed employment in the sector.  

The SCSI said that the measures which include updating the planning legislative framework and making revisions to the planning system would help speed up the development of houses and modern office blocks – which are important components of our competitiveness and attractiveness for Foreign Direct Investment.

SCSI President Micheál O’Connor said “Restoring the construction sector to a sustainable level is important to ensure we can meet the challenges arising from a lack of activity in the construction sector over the past 5 years. We have gone from producing 89,000 houses at the peak to around 8,300 last year and as a consequence of this and other economic factors, the sector lost over 200,000 jobs – these measures will help restore some of those jobs”.

The SCSI Construction Sector Outlook 2014 which was published earlier this week, highlighted the fact that an additional 30,000 jobs could be created by 2018 if the barriers to development were removed and finance became more readily available in a controlled manner. However output in 2018 is expected to be still below 2009’s output and still a long way short of the optimum level of 12% of GNP which is seen as the European norm.

“For every 10 direct construction jobs created, a further 4 are created in the wider economy so the knock on effect of job creation in the construction sector should not be understated” Mr O’Connor said.

However, the SCSI warned that the availability of development finance and mortgage finance remained key barriers to meeting the housing and office shortages and called for more targeted support for financing of ‘shovel ready’ projects with high levels of viability and potential for building homes or offices.

Referring to the measure to Continue to implement the Public Capital Programme and outline public investment plans for 2015‐2019, the SCSI said that it was imperative that the planned Public Capital Expenditure was fully completed and in particular to ensure the planned provision of key infrastructure, health and education facilities.

“Public Capital Expenditure has declined from €9bn in 2008 to €3.4bn in 2013 and given that it has accounted for up to 50% of the construction industry output it is important that it is fully mobilised to ensure jobs are maintained and created and our competitiveness as an attractive location for international business in retained” Mr O’Connor concluded.