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Published in Construction on 07/04/2017

Top Construction & Property Stories: Your 10at10

#10at10 #newsroundup

CNI Editor reports

Some of the most noteworthy construction stories from the last week, as compiled by the team at Construction Network Ireland.

(Have a story you think should be covered? Contact editor@constructionnetworkireland.com)

1.

There are fears that the UK construction market is starting to slowdown, a move that could be disastrous for Irish exporters who rely heavily on the market.

The UK construction industry saw only minimal growth for the month to March, with home building particularly slow. Given Ireland’s dependence on the UK as a whole, fall off in any significant sector is bad news, but the construction services industry in Ireland is particularly reliant on the UK.

Enterprise Ireland believe that some exporters in the construction materials industry are reliant on the UK for up to 90 percent of trade, with everything from architecture firms to the pre-cast industry concrete industry heavily reliant on the huge British market.

2.

Kingspan has surpassed interim goals on it’s ambitious plans to be a carbon-neutral company by 2020, a goal that it set in 2011. The company is going into 2017 with 57 per cent of the Kingspan estate as a whole powered by renewable energy.

According to Mark Harris, Building Technology Director at Kingspan, the company aims to reach energy neutrality through “a combination of on-site renewable energy generation (including export to the supply grids), off-site renewable energy generation (related directly to Kingspan) and the purchase of renewable energy to balance out the use of energy from non-renewable sources”.

3.

Gerry Barrett is back! Earlier this week the developer, who exited NAMA two years ago when €778 million in loans to Edward Holdings were sold off, announced a whopper of a development on a site overlooking Galway Docks.

The €100 million development will include four high-spec office blocks totalling 280,000 sq ft, along with 21,500 sq ft of retail space. It is expected that the construction will create 500 jobs, while the finished project will create about 2,600 permanent posts.

The scale and spec of the development will likely raise the interest of tenants from outside Ireland – Barrett has an excellent reputation for creating top class developments.

4.

Poor US weather, and doubts over US President Donald Trumps ability to deliver on his promises have dampened expectations on the companies profits from it’s US business Oldcaste, which is the US’s largest cement and construction and materials group.

Analyst’s from Deutsche Bank, quoted in the Irish Times, said that CRH “risks reporting disappointing first-quarter sales later this month”. The analysts went on to say that they still expected good results from the company by the end of the year.

5.

The difficulties caused by Brexit will hit companies in the border area particularly hard, but Quinn Industrial Holdings put on a brave face as it announced pre-tax profits of €6.8 million for 2016, saying that it believed the outlook was good “despite Brexit”.

The company is headquartered in Derrylin in Fermanagh, but has operations in the Republic of Ireland and England, and employs about 770 people.

6.

Plans are afoot for a €50 million expansion of Phibsborough Shopping Centre,which will see the size of the retail space triple, along with a major student apartment development for 340 students.

7.

The government is to spend €12 million on flood defences for Douglas and Togher in Cork. The budget will be spent on defensive walls, widening & deepening of river channels as well as building new bridges and culverts.

According to the Irish Examiner, the county council hopes to apply for planning permission to Bord Pleanála early next month, with a contractor starting work on the 18 month long contract next spring.

8.

On Tuesday residents had to be evacuated from a controversial development in the Beacon South Quarter which was built by Paddy Shovlin’s Landmark Enterprises. Dublin Fire Brigade said that it was too early to say what had caused the fire.

Prior to this, the city’s chief fire officer has written to owners to say that the building, built in 2005, does not meet fire regulations and as a result owners are facing bills of up to €15,000 to bring the apartments up to code, a price many owner-occupiers say they simply cannot afford.

9.

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has criticised govenrment spending on infrastructure, saying that far too much is being spent in the greater Dublin area, leading to a lack of investment in Cork, Galway & Limerick.

The CIF says that it wants the government to reassess an economic model that prioritises Dublin and instead promote regional hubs in Cork, Limerick, Galway, and Waterford for technology, pharma, and biotechnology industries.

And finally…

10.

We have regularly covered the ridiculously inaccurate housing statistics trotted out by the government time and again, and the attempts to pretend that all is right with the world by successive governments, and particularly by the office of the current Minister for Housing Simon Coveney.

The preliminary census results released this week outline the levels of the overstatement by government, showing that in the five years to the end of April 2016, just 33,400 houses were built compared to the 51,600 measured by new electricity connections, the government’s choice of measurement.

Let that sink in for a second – a third fewer houses have been built over a five year period than the government claims – and the proof comes from the Central Statistic Office (CSO). It’s time that Irish news outlets and voters held Irish governments to account for fake news.