Engineers Ireland, the professional membership body, has welcomed Housing for All, A new Housing Plan for Ireland, which was published today by Government.
The plan, which aims to boost the supply of housing to 2030, will increase availability and affordability of housing, and create a sustainable housing system into the future. The plan also contains a range of actions and measures to ensure over 300,000 new social, affordable, cost rental and private homes are built by 2030. The actions outlined in the plan are backed by over €4 billion in annual guaranteed State investment in housing over the coming years, including funding for the Land Development Agency to deliver affordable homes on State lands.
Welcoming the publication of the Plan by Government today, Caroline Spillane, Director General of Engineers Ireland said: “Homes, including how they are built and where they are located, influence each of our lives and represent a major component of the built environment. Ireland faces major challenges in our housing sector, not only in increasing supply to meet current housing needs, but also in improving the quality of the existing stock and preparing for the future. The very welcome publication of Housing for All, A new Housing Plan for Ireland has indicated four clear pathways to address challenges faced by the State, creating an integrated approach to housing delivery for the benefit of communities.”
Ms Spillane also referenced the role of engineers in the delivery of Housing for All, A new Housing Plan for Ireland and noted: “Engineers will be integral to the delivery of sustainable housing and smart settlements. Through innovative building and construction methods, they will enable the transition to a low carbon and resilient society and will support the sustainable management of water and other resources.”
Ms Spillane added: “Engineers, however, and their skillsets are in high demand, and we must encourage more young people to enter and remain in the engineering and construction sectors. In addition to funding for research and innovation commensurate with the scale of construction in the domestic economy as detailed in today’s plan, we must also innovate to increase the capacity of our sector and collaborate to promote the rewarding careers engineering has to offer.”
A culture of innovation and the enhanced remit of the Construction Technology Centre (CTC) and the Construction Sector Group (CSG), coupled with the attention given to modern methods of construction (MMC), was also welcomed by the professional body. Meanwhile, renewed focus on compliance will include the establishment of registers of competent builders by placing the Construction Industry Register Ireland on a statutory footing. Ms Spillane noted that the “move towards a statutory register will help to promote a greater commitment to compliance with the building regulations, thereby promoting greater safety and quality for the consumer and the public.”
Following many years of campaigning for increased capital investment, the engineering body noted positively the move towards more integrated thinking and some enhanced funding for infrastructure, such as water, broadband, transport and electricity to service housing, a move which will ease the delivery of housing stock and make homes more affordable.
The move to increase funding to local authorities in order to retrofit 36,500 Local Authority-owned homes to B2 Building Energy Rating by 2030 was also welcomed. This new funding stream will also support ambitions within the Climate Action Plan which commits to completing 500,000 building retrofits to achieve a B2 BER /cost optimal equivalent or carbon equivalent by 2030. “Engineers Ireland has advocated for the development and implementation of a radical national retrofit strategy, providing absolute clarity and a roadmap for retrofitting over the next 20 years to support the goals and ambitions outlined in The Climate Action Plan. We believe today’s funding commitment is another positive advancement to support our climate obligations,” Ms Spillane concluded.
To read Housing for All, A new Housing Plan for Ireland, visit: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/ef5ec-housing-for-all-a-new-housing-plan-for-ireland/