Irish Home Builders Association (IHBA)

20th century planning system is delaying efforts to meet 21st century housing demand

New report identifies practical solutions to speed up the delivery of new homes in Ireland

21st January 2021: Problems with Ireland’s planning system are causing significant delays in the delivery of new homes according to a new report published today by The Irish Homebuilders Association (IHBA). The report, which was prepared by Tom Phillips Associates on behalf of the IHBA, identifies the planning reforms needed to expedite the delivery of housing in Ireland.

The report has identified practical, achievable improvements to the planning system.  These include improved resourcing for local authorities and An Bord Pleanala; fast tracking the establishment of an electronic planning system; and streamlining design standards to reduce costs and maximise space available for developments.

Launching the report, James Benson, Director with the IHBA, said: “It is agreed that Ireland needs on average between 33,000-36,000 new homes across all tenure types delivered annually for the next two decades.  But we are trying to meet the demands of the 21st Century with a 20th century planning system. The result is unnecessary delays to homebuilding up and down the country. This landmark report identifies the need for certainty and speed in the delivery of viable housing schemes, while respecting the importance of the planning process. We have identified practical, achievable solutions to improve the planning system in Ireland and help meet our common goals of much needed new homes in Ireland.”

The report, Planning Reform Necessary to Expedite the Delivery of Housing, calls for:

Key recommendations to expediate delivery:

  • Urgently establish an electronic planning system to speed up and promote greater participation in the planning process
  • Examine the potential for the greater use of Outline Planning Permissions to help define strategic design and planning issues at the outset, rather than at the end, in order to reduce costs
  • Introduce the concept of ‘viability testing’ on all plans to ensure equitable weighting to market requirements
  • Conduct a thorough root and branch review of the planning system as committed to in 2017

Remove barriers for speedy delivery of homes:

  • Introduce a more equitable treatment of vacant site levies nationally which reflect the reasons why there might be delays progressing on a site
  • Local Authorities should provide a schedule of all zoned lands to identify any barriers to delivery of homes
  • Remove Irish Water bureaucracy as an impediment to commencing development on sites
  • Ensure adequate resources are deployed at local authority and An Bord Pleanala level to avoid delays 

Review of planning and design standards/guidelines: (longer-term to open debate on improving, streamlining standards):

  • Ensure Ministerial Guidelines are fit for purpose in 2021 to ensure design standards can be streamlined to reduce costs and maximise space available for development
  • Facilitate an open debate on house design standards which are in line with international best practice regarding public and private open spaces and separation distances

The Irish Home Builders Association (IHBA) has launched a comprehensive report providing detailed new analysis on the issues related to housing affordability and supply in Ireland.

The report, Putting Affordability at the Heart of the Housing System, was prepared for IHBA by the leading consultancy firm EY-DKM Economic Advisory Services.

The business environment and associated regulatory requirements for house building today has altered dramatically to that pertaining some five years ago. The IHBA provides house builders and developers with the information and knowledge required to operate successfully in today’s complex, fast-changing and increasingly challenging regulatory and business environment.

With the ever changing landscape of the Irish construction industry in mind the CIF, through the IHBA provides a broad range of services designed to support companies engaged in the development and housing sectors, to all members that interface with the statutory planning system and building control systems.

Planning Services

Members can get expert support on all planning issues such as statutory processes, Part V social housing obligations, development contributions, taking in charge of developments and bonding.

“Members will recoup the cost of membership several times over during the course of the year by accessing the CIF’s comprehensive range of services.”

Planning And Development Services & Housing Department

The Planning & Development Services and Housing Department promotes and represents member interests in relation to all matters relating to planning and development, house building and related regulatory requirements.

The Department updates members on on-going regulatory changes impacting upon the development and house building industry. It ensures that member views are formally considered and communicated as required to policy and decision makers including Government Departments, Local Authorities, utility companies and agencies. The Department also provides one-to-one support and advice to members.

The Department supports the following CIF Policy committees in formulating industry policy:

  • Taxation, Investment and Public Spending Committee
  • Building Regulations and Registration of Builders under CIRI Committee
  • Finance Assets and Working Capital Committee

The Department supports and services the Irish Home Builders Association (IHBA), which represents house building members of the Federation. The role of the IHBA is to promote, represent and protect the interests of members of the Association.

Sub-committees at work

The Taxation, Investment and Public Spending Committee oversees the development of CIF policy across economic and fiscal headings, and manages the preparation of submissions including the Annual Budget Submission to the Minister for Finance on behalf of the Federation.

The Building Regulations and Registration of Builders under CIRI Committee considers industry policy in relation to the Building Regulations code and associated regulatory requirements and the registration process for builders under CIRI.

The Finance, Assets and Working Capital Committee maintains and develops CIF’s relations with banking and financial institutions generally and ensures that members’ policy concerns are articulated as required for appropriate attention.

Grassroots strength

The Department, through the grassroots strengths of its members, has affected significant policy change on behalf of the development and residential/house building industry and has inputted to all legislative changes affecting the sector. It is the leading source of information and advisory services on all planning and development and housing related issues.

Regular updates are issued to all members pertaining to trends, challenges, solutions proposed and emerging themes.

The Department’s services are delivered through a network of regional branches. With a presence countrywide, members are assured of a one-to-one policy, advisory and support service when they need it.

The Department supports and represents members directly when required in discussions with Local Authorities, State Agencies and utilities. In addition, Federation support is available for member firms when faced with challenges in labour related activities.

Key Contacts

Conor O’Connell – Director of Housing, Planning & Development

021 435 1410

Cathy Gurry – Administrator

Cathy joined the CIF in 2003 and over the following years, Cathy worked in the Industrial Relations and Manpower Department giving advice to members regarding Employment Law and HR issues. More recently in addition to advising members in Employment Law, Cathy now offers full-time support to the Housing Director, in an administrative role.

01 4066008

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