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Published in Commercial Property on 03/03/2017

Top Construction & Property News: 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.

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The Government’s Rebuilding Ireland strategy, launched with much fanfare last year, is doomed to failure according to analysis of 40 years of Central Statistics Office (CSO) property statistics by architect and pundit Mel Reynolds.

Based on analysis of CSO data on housing completions and house prices, Reynolds has concluded that the normal laws of supply and demand have never applied to the housing sector in Ireland – as supply goes up, price goes up.

Conversely, when there is a lull in building, prices stagnate or retract – essentially the argument is that in a small economy, price leads supply.

The analysis comes shortly after the Moody’s report on Ireland which suggested that a lack of housing will stymy Ireland’s potential to attract foreign direct investment from the UK following Brexit.


According to analysis by the Simon Community, there are 27 vacant properties in Ireland for every person currently in emergency accommodation.

The figure of 198,358 empty properties (which is approximately 13% of the total housing stock) is based on preliminary figures from the 2016 census conducted by the CSO, and excludes both holiday homes and any building so derelict that they would be uninhabitable.

It seems that if there was any political will, the issue of emergency accommodation could be solved without much fuss.


In a bid to increase the stock of social housing available, the government is to build 1,400 social housing units with help from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

The EIB has approved loans of €200 million for the project, and the government will match it with €205 million, with the money for use by the voluntary housing sector and not local authorities.

The project will also retrofit and upgrade 700 homes. The loan makes Ireland the 4th largest recipient of money for social housing from the EIB.


Construction inflation looks set to increase as much in 2017 and it did in 2016, according to the latest figures from the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI).

The SCSI Tender Price Index (TPI) predicts that building inflation on commercial buildings will increase by 3% in the first six months of 2017and that this increase is likely to also have knock on effect to residential housing.

The figures are consistent with the trend over the last few years. Last year construction tender prices increased by 6.3% for the whole of 2016.


Albert Manifold, the head of Ireland’s largest company CRH, has said that the building materials manufacturer cannot see any situation where it would supply materials to the construction of Donal Trumps ‘wall’ between the US & Mexican borders.

The reason reported in the Irish Independent for the lack of cooperation is not exactly a hard, principled stance – publicly listed companies are rarely known to engage in such things – but a case of CRH not having ‘anyone in the area who can help’.

CRH is the largest building materials supplier in North America and had sales of €14.2 billion in the region during 2016.

The United States is it’s biggest market and more than half of its US sales relate to government infrastructure projects such as roads & highways.


Belfast seems set to undergo a revolution in its Hotel market, with 3,747 new beds planned for the City over the next couple of years – the current total available is 3,400 beds.

CBRE released figures to the Belfast Telegraph showing that there are 27 hotels at various stages of either expansion or new builds, with five currently under way.

The five new hotels being built, and the expansion of Ten Square behind City Hall, will add 1,100 to the City’s hotel stock.


Whoever is Garda Commissioner in 2020 will have a fancy new office if rumours emanating from the OPW are true – An Garda Siochana are due to get a state of the art new Headquarters with a projected cost of €80 million.

If the plan is to go ahead it will necessitate cabinet approval. The police force currently rents the building where its HQ is based, to the eye-watering tune of €6 million per year.

The news follows on the heel of serious investment in recent years in Garda stations around the country, which were all long overdue.

These include a €30m station in Sligo town, a €7m station in Clonmel, Co Tipperary; and 100m on new divisional headquarters in Dublin and Wexford, and on a regional HQ in Galway.


Roadbridge, the company which won the first of the major contracts at the new Center Parcs holiday resort in Longford is looking for local contractors to work on the project – any contractor wishing to be considered for the project should email Roadbridge for more details.


Dalata, the largest hotel group in the country is close to paying a dividend to shareholders as it’s era of incredibly rapid expansion draws to a close.

Dalata currently has approximately 1,200 new hotel rooms in the pipeline to add to 7,100 hotel rooms it currently operates under the Clayton and Maldron brands.

And finally…


The challenges to the facing US President Donald Trump continue to grow – the promised wall is going to cost an arm and a leg, another major appointee seems to be pally with the Russians, and who knew healthcare could be so complicated?

Now President Trump has another enemy to add to his list – Vertigo angustior.

The wall that Trump International has said it needs to build to protect three of the holes on its golf course in Doonbeg is to be delayed further by the presence of a tiny snail which is a protected species.

Clare County Council has requested TIGL Ireland Enterprises Ltd, to submit a revised Natural Impact Statement (NIS) to outline the effects of the proposed 28,000-tonne development on the snail.