SCSI welcomes the Housing Action Plan, but warns that critical skills shortages across all sectors will urgently need to be addressed to deliver the scale of housing delivery.
Wednesday, 20 July 2016. Claire Solon, President of Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland and Head of Property at Friends First said “We understand the scale of the challenge faced by policymakers to re-activate the housing development sector. In our recent Real Cost of New House Delivery Report, we identified key cost impediments to development and we are pleased to see that the Action Plan agrees and takes account of this. This is particularly relevant in relation to the measures that are proposed to increase the supply of land, including publicly owned lands, where quick decisions need to be made”.
“The Minister has identified the importance of collaboration between the various government and state agencies, but we still firmly believe that a National body with real authority and mandate is needed not just for housing, but also for national infrastructural planning. It’s clear from the Action Plan that in several areas, it’s the need for projects like road completions, or water and drainage schemes that are actually preventing the delivery of housing”.
“The industry has shown itself be to resourceful following many difficult years, but there needs to be significant investment now to address the skills shortage in all sectors – professional, technical and trades. We will be asking the Minister of Finance to specifically resource our sector in the upcoming Budget for training of apprentices, graduates and to help encourage workers from other sectors to transfer to construction and property roles. The industry plays a vital role in our economy and after many years of under-investment, negative reporting and poor output, it needs radical intervention to upscale and deliver what could be one of the most important development stages in the history of our country”.
If the Housing Action Plan is successfully implemented and building volume scales up rapidly, one of the contrary outcomes will be that there is insufficient housing to accommodate all the workers and professionals needed on sites and in offices around the cities and towns where development is most needed.
“The rental sector is identified as a key growth area, but needs radical legislative overhaul to develop a more mature, stable relationship between landlords & tenants, with security of tenure and responsibilities clearly defined. Renting was previously a stepping stone between living with your parents and home-ownership, but for some, renting is a strategic choice; giving them flexibility and the freedom to move. Our members are embedded in the rental & property management services sector and will contribute their expertise to develop new policy which better captures the wants and needs of all parties”.