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Streamlined planning will expedite home-builds
Will Carmody, Vanessa Byrne and James Ronan of MHC LLP

22 May 2023 / property Print

Streamlined planning will expedite home-builds

A full 91% of Ireland’s property sector believe that streamlining planning would have the biggest impact on boosting housing supply, according to a survey by business law firm Mason Hayes & Curran (MHC).

However, only 4% felt that a new government would have the most significant effect. The survey was carried out at the firm’s annual property conference, Planning & Building for Tomorrow, at the Mansion House, Dublin (19 May).

Chronic shortfall

Real estate partner Jamie Fitzmaurice commented: “Boosting supply in the housing market is key to addressing the chronic shortfall of housing supply in Ireland.

“What was very clear from today’s discussion is that it’s a challenge that requires a collective solution. Collaboration across all stakeholders, from both the public and private sector, is critically important if we are to find new and innovative solutions to deliver the scale of housing needed to satisfy demand.”

The event was attended by almost 500 industry professionals.

Economists Ronan Lyons (TCD) and Colm McCarthy debated property matters with Lyons commenting that more than 50,000 units need to be built each year.

“The next three years will be challenging due to external factors like costs and interest rates and the self-inflicted decisions of a cumbersome system. External factors will dominate but if we're not building 50k plus houses a year, things are going to get worse,” said Lyons.

The majority (57%) think that the Planning and Development Bill will have no impact on reducing bottlenecks in the planning system.


MHC construction partner Paul Bassett commented: “Whatever you think of the bill – and there was a lively discussion on my panel – it represents the largest overhaul of Ireland’s planning and development regime in over 20 years.

“I think the poll results reflect the difficult balancing act between ensuring a time and cost-efficient planning process, while complying with our legal requirements related to public participation and access to justice.”

The survey also found that two thirds of the industry (66%) believe modular housing could make a significant contribution to the housing crisis.

Panellist Arlene van Bosch (Land Development Agency) commented: “We need better assurances as an industry on the quality, the costs and the protocols in using modular housing. The speed at which modular houses can be constructed means that if those assurances are there, it could be a good option to explore.

“However, we need to ensure we don’t rely too heavily on one single solution when it comes to increased supply of new residences.”

When asked to predict the average daily rate of office occupancy in Dublin in 2026, most respondents (51%) said it will be between 50 and 70%.

Real estate partner Tom Davy said: “Flexible and remote working mean Dublin’s office occupancy rates are in a state of flux.

Efficient offices

“AI and other technologies can certainly create more efficient offices, track occupancy rates, identify cost and energy-saving opportunities, and generally enhance workplace management.

“But what came across strongly is that AI will not replace human input or roles but more so augment them, and as a result the office space and personal interaction is still critical for most organisations.”

Partner and co-head of real estate, Vanessa Byrne said that addressing the property crisis is one of the most important issues facing Ireland.

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