Now showing 1 - 10 of 20
  • Publication
    Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing: Pre-legislative Scrutiny Land Development Agency Bill October 2019
    (Houses of the Oireachtas, 2019-10-14)
    The purpose of today is scrutiny of the Land Development Agency (LDA) Bill1. I will outline the policy context, then expand on specific objectives of the Bill and whether they are met. There is little detail in the heads of Bill and some of my commentary is based on statements made in this House, in the media and at public events.
      19
  • Publication
    High density, low standards- the impact of deregulation on urban inclusivity and housing affordability in Ireland
    (2021-07-15)
    Irish cities, like many others are experiencing a housing crisis. In the years 2015-2018 planning standards were changed with the objective of incentivising private housing development. This included reductions in apartment quality, amenity and space standards , and the deregulation of new housing typologies including accommodation called ‘co-living’ (bedrooms with shared facilities). One consequence of this deregulation is that permanent ‘homes’ now include rooms of 12m2, smaller than a standard car parking space, with communal kitchens and living rooms. Additional storage space, outdoor amenity and parking are negotiable. A housing charity has described co-living as "21st-century bedsits with a glossy makeover" This continues a policy drift to privately-operated institutional housing (including direct provision centres for asylum seekers, homeless family ‘hubs’, purpose built accommodation for students and over 55s). More importantly, it prioritises minimal spaces for city workers over sustainable, integrated and affordable urban communities, designed for the long term needs of the 50% of households that have children. Architect and author Michael Sorkin says: ‘the idea that there is a class of renter tenant who must ever trim their spaces to their demographic status is truly invidious.. an aspirational minimum is one thing; an on-going process of defining that minimum down.. betrays a lack of both imagination and compassion’ . In a speculative market, on which the state is largely reliant for the provision of housing, this has a disruptive effect. There are economic consequences because the resultant inflation in land values and rents impacts on affordability. In the longer term, however, there are implications for sustainable urban growth. If cities apartments are expensive and small, will this result in transient communities and over-crowded homes? And what are the social and environmental costs of displacing families into the commuter belt in search of space and affordability?
      70
  • Publication
    Greatest challenge facing us may not be the virus, but our inability to adapt and invent
    (Irish Independent, 2021-08-10)
    The political fallout from the Covid-19 regulations stems from a decision to negotiate pandemic policy with lobbyists and economists, rather than scientists. In the Spring of 2020, a medical crisis was successfully suppressed with strong tailwinds of goodwill, financial supports and a warm season. By early August, the rolling average was just 50 cases a day1 (it is currently thirty times this number).
      23
  • Publication
    Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government. Housing: Construction costs and affordability
    (Houses of the Oireachtas, 2022-06-24)
    The purpose is to look at the construction costs and inflation in the context of housing delivery and affordability. We might ask: “Are costs increasing?” (they are), but the important questions are “are costs making housing unaffordable?” and “what can be done about it?”.
      41
  • Publication
    Lives disrupted by insecure accommodation
    (View Digital, 2019-06-05)
    Perhaps the worst thing that could happen is that we start to think of the housing crisis as a perennial (or worse, a ‘wicked’) problem; one that can be alleviated but never solved. Problems that continue can too easily become normalised. Over the last five years, the challenges have become more acute and are most visible in the rising numbers who are without any home. Five years ago, there were 2,500 homeless people in Ireland and today this stands at more than 10,000, the largest demographic being children under five. This figure excludes many other categories of homeless, including those sleeping rough.
      15
  • Publication
    Planning Gain and Obligations: Promise and Performance of Part V (Social & Affordable Housing)
    Planning gain is based on the idea that land values are enhanced by the actions of the state or community, for example, through land use zoning and infrastructure provision, both of which increase the value of land.Landowners may have done little to cause an uplift in land value and may achieve what are called ‘windfall gains’ when land is purchased by a developer. There are many methods of seeking to capture some of this value uplift for the community and one is to impose planning obligations to develop social and affordable housing as a condition of planning consent. Such housing can be on the site of the relevant planning permission or elsewhere in the locality.As developers will factor in the planning obligations as part of their development appraisal, such obligations will result in a lower land price to the landowner, and planning obligations attempt to capture the difference between the market and existing use value of land. However, this depends on the assumption that the state is paying actual, as opposed to inflated, land values for Part V housing. If the state pays inflated prices this, in turn, inflates land values and undermines the objectives of Part V. The primary aim of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000 and, in particular, to assess how it has operated since the major reforms made as part of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015.
      60
  • Publication
    Submission to the Public Consultation on the Review of Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Energy for Buildings other than Dwellings) 2017
    (Department of the Taoiseach, 2017-05) ; ;
    This submission is a contribution to the Review of Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Energy for Buildings other than Dwellings) 2017, which have "the overall objective of improving the energy and carbon performance of new buildings other than dwellings and to transpose the EU requirement for nearly zero energy buildings and major renovations, without imposing a disproportionate burden on industry in terms of bureaucracy or costs".
      137
  • Publication
    Expert witness: Joint Oireachtas Housing Committee, CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY REGISTER (IRELAND) BILL 26 October 2017
    (Houses of the Oireachtas, 2017-10-26)
    A sustainable and robust construction industry needs an effective building control system, an efficient construction sector, a flexible labour market, and a 'fighting fund' for remedying defects. Any one part cannot be looked at in isolation. Regulation of certain professions, trades, builders and developers is necessary, in the interests of public safety, environmental protection and consumers. Restrictions on activities must be justifiable and proportionate. Targeted robust regulation is required in specific areas of high risk, the legacy of defective and dangerous buildings cannot be repeated. In order to rebuild trust in the construction industry, systems must be fully independent, transparent and subject to oversight.
      99
  • Publication
    Special Oireachtas Committee on Covid-19 Response. Covid-19 and the construction industry
    (Houses of the Oireachtas, 2020-05-18)
    The risks to workers, families and communities from an uncontrolled re-opening of the construction sector should not be underestimated. In England and Wales, the death rate among male construction workers from Covid-19 is higher than among health workers.
      27
  • Publication
    Opening Statement to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning & Local Goverment: General Scheme of Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) Bill 2017
    (Houses of the Oireachtas, 2017-10-23)
    A sustainable and robust construction industry needs an effective building control system, an efficient construction sector, a flexible labour market, and a 'fighting fund' for remedying defects. Any one part cannot be looked at in isolation. Regulation of certain professions, trades, builders and developers is necessary, in the interests of public safety, environmental protection and consumers. Restrictions on activities must be justifiable and proportionate. Targeted robust regulation is required in specific areas of high risk, the legacy of defective and dangerous buildings cannot be repeated. In order to rebuild trust in the construction industry, systems must be fully independent, transparent and subject to oversight.
      149