21/01/2019 - 04:19
By Kevin O'Neill
Construction industry officials have raised concerns about the lack of building outside the country's major urban centres in Dublin and Cork.
Specifically, the relative lack of activity in Waterford and Limerick has been highlighted as a concern by Conor O'Connell, southern regional director of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).
Figures compiled by the CIF show that there was a 27.7% increase in housing construction in the period of January to September 2018 in comparison to the same period in 2017. 12,582 new housing units were completed in the ten-month period, - 2,726 more than the same period in the previous year.
However, almost half of these were in either Dublin or Cork. Just 265 were in Waterford city or county, with Limerick city and county accounting for 380. Galway city saw just 92 new homes completed - 26 fewer than the previous year.
Mr O'Connell said construction activity looks set to rise considerably in 2019 but that the bulk of this will be in offices and infrastructural projects. Housing will still lag considerably behind what is needed, he added.
He said: "Activity in Cork in particular looks set to increase significantly next year as major infrastructural projects such as the Port of Cork in Ringaskiddy, Dunkettle Interchange and Ballyvourney bypass either commence or continue.
"Other major projects such as Penrose Quay, Horgan’s Quay, Navigation House - all offices - will continue into 2019 as they reach construction and fit-out stage.
"From a national perspective, though, most construction activity is confined to Dublin and to a lesser extent Cork.
Mr O'Connell said it is still 'not viable' for many developers to build housing in the volumes needed: "In many areas, the cost of delivery is greater than the market value.
"There is a vital need to commence apartment construction in Cork city centre but again the cost of delivery is greater than the market value. It is urgently required that all delivery costs are reviewed to allow the private residential construction sector deliver the product."