The latest figures from the CSO reveal that there were 143 new dwellings completed in Kilkenny 1 year-to-date, but property developers GPD.ie say there is still a long way to go before the rate of building catches up with demand.
Aaron Willis, General Manager of GPD.ie (Glounthaune Property Developers) commented, “The CSO has just released the Q3 2018 new dwelling figures – which should be met with a cautious optimism. There is progress, but the figures show that in Kilkenny there were just 55 completions in total, which makes 143 so far this year - and this is simply not enough.”
GPD.ie point to the CSO figures which reveal a nationwide year on year increase of 23% in new dwelling completions (4,763) – totalling 12,582 completions this year to date.
Mr. Willis voiced the company’s concerns, “While the volume of construction output has been rising steadily, the pace of building remains far too slow. This increase is welcomed, but it does not make up for the fact that construction has decreased by over 50% overall in the last decade. What is for sure is that the industry will rise to the challenge and we will ensure the
increased volume will be met. However, we now need a sustained approach starting with the overhaul and improvement of procurement routes, coupled with a detailed understanding of Government’s plans for building in Ireland, so that the industry can plan ahead.”
GPD.ie are highlighting the fact that recent years saw a huge number of professional and tradespeople either leave the construction industry and re-train in another sector or leave to work abroad. The property experts say that this shortage of skilled labour has been further compounded by the limited apprentice programmes in the industry.
Mr. Willis explained, “There were 108,720 people employed in the Irish construction sector in 2015 – but less than 10 years before that we had a labour force of 281,800 in the industry. Clearly, something must be done about the fact that our building and construction workforce has depleted by so much. The Recession hit, and people left the country – we must now entice to them to come home. Also, during the downturn, a career in construction was seen as a risky if not futile move – so less and less young people entered the field. It is now incumbent upon us to present trades and other building-related skills as an attractive career proposition.
Mr. Willis went on to say, “Over the next 20 years, we will see unprecedented growth in the size of our population. Armed with this knowledge we must be prudent and consider, from a building perspective, how we can plan for this growth. There will, of course, be a number of individual but complimentary strands required, in order to execute any effective strategic roadmap aimed at managing this growth, and there will be plenty of challenges. The country needs more houses. This is an unquestionable truth. So, we need to put in place the supports, process, incentives and structures that will enable the goal of greaterconstruction output to be achieved. Planning also needs to be reviewed. With limited space in cities, consideration needs to be given to reviewing the height restrictions on new developments.”
While the CSO’s statistical yearbook for 2017 reported a 20% increase in total building and construction in 2017, GPD have welcomed the figures with caution, considering that the volume of output in building and construction decreased by 53.8% in the last decade.
Mr. Willis concluded, “The smallest sector in the business economy in Ireland in 2015 was Construction, with a turnover of €15 billion. These figures spell out, in no uncertain terms, that this sector needs help.”