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Building Information Index 2022 Q1-Q2

By | Building Information Ireland, Industry News

High inflation rates among other problems have hit the construction sector following the end of the COVID-19 slump, Building Information’s new index has found.

In the newly-published Building Information Index Q1-Q2 for 2022, significant pressures have been seen in the rising costs seen in the first six months of this year. 

With the Society of Chartered Surveyors finding that construction price inflation is now running at 14%, Building Information Ireland CEO Danny O’Shea said this provided a backdrop to their half-year report of the industry. 

“Covid restrictions appear to be well and truly behind us now, but challenges remain in terms of inflation, supply chain and labour skills,” he said. 

Mr O’Shea pointed to data and recent reports from BNP Paribas Real Estate Ireland 

Construction PMI in June and July suggest huge difficulties for the sector in the summer months.

However, the same report also sees inflation easing in the coming months. 

“This should hopefully release some pressure on both suppliers and contractors in the  construction sector as we progress through the latter half of 2022.”

Commencement of projects has increased by just 65%, which is relatively static once inflation is stripped from the picture. 

However, after two years of the sector largely coming to a stand still during rolling lockdowns, the industry has perked up with a substantial 50% national increase in application activity compared to the first half of 2021

This is an increase from €13.6bn to €20.5bn year on year.

All regions of the island showed growth with Dublin seeing the largest at a 79% increase. 

Connacht and Ulster remain largely unchanged with a marginal increase of just 1% – which is actually a decrease in projects once inflation is taken out of costs. 

Although the rest of the country saw a decrease in granted permissions, they were up year-on-year nationally by 3% in thanks to Munster.

 

Residential

Despite a slight decrease in unit putput, the outlook for residential properties has remained positive with planning applications up 68% in the first six months of 2022 compared to 2021. 

This increase is substantially driven by Strategic Housing Developments (SHD) and the new  new Large Residential Developments – all of which have units of 100 or more. 

Dublin and Cork have seen the majority of new applications, showing gains of 94% and 95% in the Dublin and Munster regions respectively. 

While granted applications increased by 5% nationally for the year, Munster has seen a significant rise in comparison to the rest of the country.

Commencements are up a marginal 2% in the same period. 

Building Info’s analysis sees a possible 15% increase in activity in the short term with delays in planning and limitations of delivery hindering estimates.

 

Education 

Turning to the education sector, the outlook remains overwhelmingly positive with high levels of activity expected to continue into 2023. 

Commencements rose by 170% nationally when compared to 2021 – a further increase from 2020.

Planning applications were down nationally by 30% but granted applications rose by 43%. All regions have felt this increase with the exception of Dublin which is down 17%. 

 

Agriculture

When looking at agriculture, all metrics have seen significant decreases with planning applications down 56%.

Granted applications also fell by 43% for the year with all regions feeling this steep decline.

On the commencement front, the six months of 2022 saw a 17% national decline. 

Inflation of steel prices has seemed to contribute to this downturn. 

One consolation that can be taken for the sector is that turn around times have improved.

 

Industrial 

The industrial sector is continuing into 2022 with strong growth with planning applications up 15%.

Dublin benefited the most with a recorded 72% increase.

Although granted applications are down 19% nationally, commencements are up a significant 76%.

Strong activity is seen in Cork with Munster overall enjoying huge gains of 185%. 

Turnaround times are just three weeks longer than the industry average at 66 weeks. 

 

Commercial & Retail 

After taking a significant hit in the last two years, the commerical and retail sector has appeared to turn a corner in the first half of 2022. 

Planning applications are up 27% compared to the same period in 2021.  While this growth was felt in Dublin and Munster, Leinster and Connacht Ulster continued to show decreases of 10% and 38% respectively. 

Granted applications also increased in line with inflation. 

While national commencement activity is down, a growth of 20% in Dublin is hoped to be reflected in the rest of the country in the near future. 

In other sectors, medical construction looks neutral in the short term with current activity slowing slightly in 2022. 

Meanwhile, activity and demand are both down significantly in the social sector when comparing the first halves of 2022 and 2021. 

Information in the Building Information Index is gathered by measuring the actual (estimated) monetary build value of every construction project per sector. The data is taken by BuildingInfo from real time planning and project information. 

Projects with a value of less than €200,000 were not included from this index, with the exception of the agriculture sector.

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Dublin City Council gives go-ahead to two new Amazon data centres

By | Industry News

Amazon has been given the green light to construct two new data centres in north Dublin.

Last month, Dublin City Council approved an application by the tech giant to construct the two centres on a site in Clonshaugh Business and Technology Park.

To make way for construction, the former Ricoh building on the site will be demolished.

The new data centres will be held in new two-storey buildings, the first with a gross floor area of f12,875m² and the second with 1,445m².

Both centres will accommodate data halls, associated electrical and mechanical plant rooms, a loading bay, maintenance and storage space, office administration areas, with plant and solar panels at roof level.

The larger centre will also have two additional mezzanine levels.

A dozen emergency generators will be placed in adjoining compounds of each of the two data centres.

Amazon Web Services, a division of the corporation, already has a data centre on the same site.

The multinational has forecast that between 15 and 58 staff will be employed once construction is completed. Another 400 jobs are also estimated for the construction process.

Three objections have been made as concerns over energy capacity issues and the data centre’s contribution to the country’s greenhouse gas emissions have been raised.

Figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) found that data centres consumed 14% of Ireland’s electricity last year.

Angela Deegan and Eoin O Leidhin, on behalf of the environmental organisations Not Here Not Anywhere and Gluaiseacht respectively, were among the list of objectors.

In her objection letter, Ms Deegan wrote that although there are solar panels included, the planning application also features diesel emergency generators which will result in fossil fuels sometimes being used to power the centre.

“If the plant cannot be powered fully by renewable energy, it will lead to an increase in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2030, contravening the Climate Act, Climate Action Plan and National Planning Framework,” she said in her letter.

Consultants for Amazon promised that the company was committed to building a sustainable business in its application.

They said that the company’s recently-operational wind farm in Galway would support the powering of its data centres in the country.

The multinational also referenced its net zero carbon emission by 2040 commitment, which sees the business to be powered by 100% renewable energy by 2025.

South Dublin County Council recently voted to ban the development of any further data centres being built in its function area during the lifetime of its 2022 to 2028 development plan.

In response to this move, a High Court case has been brought forward by Echelon DC Holdings Limited.

The Government has also called on SDCC to reverse this prohibition.

Center Parcs presents €85 million extension to popular Longford resort

By | Industry News

Center Parcs has put forward its plans for an €85 million extension to its lush Longford forest resort.

The holiday company had previously announced its intentions to expand last year and has now submitted its plan to Longford County Council.

The extension will see the building of 198 new additional accommodation lodges – including four luxury tree houses and external sauna/pods associated with specific lodges.

A lakeside restaurant and coffee shop are also included in current plans and an extension to both the existing Aqua Sauna spa facility and Sub-Tropical Swimming Paradise.

New treatment rooms and a treetop sauna are envisioned for the spa while the swimming paradise is set to enjoy a brand new pool.

Permission for the installation of a solar panel on the roof of the Sports Hall and the Sports Café building has been sought – where an extension to both the hall and the café has been proposed.

Numerous Village Cente restaurants including Huck’s restaurant, Cara’s restaurant, Sports Café restaurant and Bella Italia are also seeking extensions.

The provision of new cycling parking and 313 new car parking spaces for staff are included in current plans.

A new District Heating system with an Energy Centre is in current plans as well as a staff welfare and storage building and two new remote housekeeping stores.

Announcing its resolve last year, it was previously estimated that 300 new jobs would be created throughout the construction process of the extension – should it get the green light.

Planning was lodged in August of this year, just three years after the popular resort first opened its doors in 2019.

And despite a pandemic and restrictions impeding for a large part of its operation, the UK-based company confirmed that it has welcomed over 1.1 million swimmers to its popular Sub-Tropical Swimming Paradise and sold 72,451 pints of Guinness.

A decision date from Longford County Council has yet to be established.

Dublin City Council gives go-ahead for 11-storey hotel on Abbey Street

By | Industry News

Dublin City Council has approved the construction of an 11-storey hotel on the city centre’s Abbey Street.

The plan was submitted to the Council by Tom Phillips & Associates on behalf of Abbey Street DevCo Ltd.

The plan’s approval comes after An Bord Pleanala refused planning permission for a build-to-rent apartment scheme on the same site in December 2021.

Set to cost an estimated €74 million, it will have 252 bedrooms.

As well as the hotel, a 222-bed 10-storey aparthotel block will also be erected, which will front on Great Strand Street.

A reception area, a restaurant and bar, a lounge and a gym are included in current plans.

Dublin City Council has approved the construction of an 11-storey hotel on the city centre’s Abbey Street. Credit: Michael Collins Associates

Dublin City Council has approved the construction of an 11-storey hotel on the city centre’s Abbey Street. Credit: Michael Collins Associates

Two retail units are also envisioned for the ground floor, with an off licence area in the larger retail unit.

Giving the green light to the scheme, the city council also ordered the company to pay a planning contribution fee of €941,632.00 to the Planning Authority in respect of the LUAS C1 Line Scheme.

This amount is payable on commencement of construction.

Approving the hotel, the planner’s report stated that the development “would assist in the regeneration of a vacant site, and would provide for active uses onto Great Strand Street and Byrne’s Lane and create new connections between Great Strand Lane and Byrne’s Lane and potentially Abbey Cottages”.

The report continued: “… The proposed development would be in keeping with development plan provisions, and with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

The hotel received one objection from a Frank McDonald, who wrote in his six-page objection to the project that it “is just another glaring example of the incessant grinding of a mill bent on turning Dublin into an Anywhere City”.

Almost 1,000 homes to be built on former Dundrum hospital grounds in SHD development

By | Industry News

Nearly 1,000 homes are set to be built on the lands of the former Dundrum Central Mental Hospital.

The Land Development Agency announced its intentions to apply to An Bord Pleanala for a 10-year permission for a Strategic Housing Development on the grounds of the former hospital.

In current plans, the site is squarely placed in the immediate area of a number of proposed protected structures, namely the ‘Asylum’, the ‘Catholic Chapel’, and the ‘Hospital Building’.

With a total application site area of c.9.6 ha, the development will consist of 977 residential units – almost all apartments.

Of the 957 apartments, 423 will be one bedroom units, 317 will be two bedroom units (for four people), 37 will be two bedroom units (for three people), 110 will be three bedroom units and 53 will be studio apartments.

Further 17 apartments will be duplex, consisting of three bedroom units and 14 three bedroom units.

Current plans see all apartments having private balconies and terraces as well as a communal amenity open space provision – including courtyards and a roof garden.

Of the other homes envisioned, 20 two and three storey houses are in current provisions, consisting of seven three bedroom units and 13 four bedroom units.

The development will also consist of 3,889 sqm of non-residential uses with the change of use and renovation of the existing single storey Gate Lodge building to provide a café.

A restaurant, six retail units, a medical unit, a community centre and a childcare facility with an associated outdoor play area are also included in the application.

The development will consist of the demolition of existing structures on the site, including a single storey former swimming pool and sports hall, a two storey redbrick building, a single storey ancillary and temporary structures and removal of existing internal subdivisions/ fencing, including removal of security fence at Dundrum Road entrance.

A demolition of a section of the porch and glazed screens at Gate Lodge building, the removal of walls adjacent to the Main Hospital Building and alterations and removal of sections of the wall to the Walled Garden are also included in current plans.

Provisions for public open spaces, cycle and pedestrian routes and parking are also accounted for.

Vehicles will be able to access the site from the existing access area off Dundrom Road and a new access area also off Dundrum Road to the south.

Minister for Education confirms that 20 school building projects to progress to tender stage

By | Industry News

Minister Norma Foley

“I am pleased that this programme will provide significant additional provision for children with special education needs at post-primary level and in special schools. This will be an important feature for post-primary school projects generally given the need to enhance our capacity to deliver provision for children with special educational needs at post-primary level.

The Department of Education

Minister for Education Norma Foley TD confirms that 20 school building projects, being managed and delivered on a devolved basis by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) on behalf of the Department, are expected to progress to tender stage.

The Minister can confirm that the first phase of the process for the procurement of design and build (D&B) contractors for the ambitious programme has been completed through the selection of five D&B contractors.

The second phase of the procurement process will involve the tendering of the first bundle of projects by these D&B contractors and the establishment of a contractor framework to tender for each subsequent bundle of projects as they become ready (design work completed and planning permission etc. obtained).

The 20 school building projects are being delivered in three distinct project bundles: Project Nore, Project Boyne and Project Dargle. Subject to the timelines for obtaining planning permissions, it is envisaged that these projects will proceed to tender and ultimately construction over the course of 2022 and 2023.

Project management and design team consultants have already been appointed for all projects within the programme. Each project bundle is currently progressing through a different stage of the design development process and, once they have completed the statutory approvals process, they can all then be expected to proceed to tender to the contractor framework.

These projects when completed will deliver in excess of 14,000 permanent school places (additional and replacement places) which includes over 50 special classes. It also includes new and modern facilities for 22 classrooms in two special schools. The overall list of 20 projects included in the programme is set out below.

Minister Foley said:

“The rollout of these projects to tender and construction is an important aspect of the Department’s overall delivery under the Government’s National Development Plan 2021 to 2030. They will assist in delivering on the provision of modern and sustainable infrastructure for the schools sector.

“I would also like to acknowledge the work of all the school communities, stakeholders and particularly the NDFA in driving forward with this major programme of school building projects. The NDFA is an important strategic delivery partner for the Department and I look forward to continuing to build on this relationship in the future with the rollout of further programmes.”

Welcoming this announcement Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan said:

“I am pleased that this programme will provide significant additional provision for children with special education needs at post-primary level and in special schools. This will be an important feature for post-primary school projects generally given the need to enhance our capacity to deliver provision for children with special educational needs at post-primary level.

“As a Government we are committed to providing state-of-the-art facilities for our students and I look forward to seeing these projects continuing to progress.”

ENDS

Observatory at the top of the Spire in O’Connell Street

By | Industry News

An application has been received for the construction of an observation platform at the top of ‘The Spire’ on O’Connell street #Dublin.

The 40m2 single storey building, which will be accessed by a lift and a stairway up the middle of the structure, will be primarily for the housing of telescopes to study the night sky, but will also be used for traffic reports in the city centre.

More details on this project here:

US Pharma giant submits plans for €76 million factory in Limerick

By | Industry News
Eli Lilly Limerick Plan

Proposed site

US pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly has put forward an application for a €76 million factory in Co Limerick.

The company is seeking a 10-year permission to develop a four-storey Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Campus with an overall floor plan of 47,384 sqm.

The main building will be approximately 18,534 sqm and 33 metres high with roof-mounted plant/equipment and solar panels.

Eli Lilly submitted the planning application to Limerick City and County Council on February 28 – but had made the big announcement in January of this year.

The proposed site is Raheen Business Park, a 5km distance from Limerick’s city centre.

A decision date from the council is due on April 14.

The new factory expects to deliver 300 jobs from engineers, scientists and operations personnel and a further 500 jobs during the plant’s construction with the corporation intending to invest €400 million into the new facility.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar TD welcomed the US company’s decision as “fantastic news”.

“The Mid-West has become a real hub for leading biopharma companies such as Lilly and I’m really pleased that the company has chosen Limerick for its new manufacturing centre, investing over €400m and creating 300 new, permanent jobs and a further 500 jobs during construction,” Mr Varadkar said.

“This new manufacturing centre is a significant expansion of that work and I wish the entire team the very best with the project.”

Eli Lilly Limerick Plan

Credit: Jacob’s Engineering Limited

Eli Lilly currently hires more than 2,500 employees in Ireland across its manufacturing campus in Kinsale, Co Cork as well a global business services centre in Cork’s Little Island and a commercial team which operates across the country.

The company first began its operations in Ireland back in 1978.

“Over the past 40 years, we have continued to invest in Ireland in part because of supportive government policies that value life science innovatio,’ said Senior vice president and president of Lilly Manufacturing Operations Edgardo Hernandez.

“This new Lilly campus in Limerick will allow us to expand our capacity to make innovative new medicines that can help treat some of the world’s most serious illnesses.

“This facility will use the latest technology to support advancements in science, productivity and sustainability, further establishing Lilly as a global manufacturing leader.”

CEO of IDA Ireland Martin Shanahan also hailed the announcement as demonstrative of the “confidence Lilly has in Ireland” and the Mid-West’s “strong talent pool”.

“I wish to assure Lilly of IDA Ireland’s continued support.”

Major construction of €62 million Palmerstown build-to-rent development begins

By | Industry News

Major construction has begun in Palmsterstown on a €62 million development that originally started site work last May.

The building of Block C and E of a strategic housing development at lands on Palmerstown Retail Park, Kennelsfort Road Lower, Palmerstown, Dublin 20 kicked off this month.

Although work originally began in May 28 last year, work on the first two blocks has only begun.

All in all, the development will see the creation of 250 “build to rent” apartments as well as a café and other residential facilities.

Block C will provide 47 of these apartments, 30 of which are one-beds and 17 which are two-beds.

The building will be six storeys high over a basement.

Palmerstown Build To Rent

Credit: Digital Dimensions

Block E, at eight storeys, will contain 63 apartments in total, 40 of which will be one-beds and 23 two-beds.

The development will consist of five blocks in total.

Block A will have 27 apartments ranging from three to six storeys over the basement and a communal roof garden on the third floor. Most apartments in the block will have both private balconies or terraces.

Block B is set to hold 46 apartments — comprising 18 one-beds and 28 two-beds at six storeys over the basement in height. All apartments will be provided with private balconies or terraces.

Palmerstown Build To Rent

Credit: Digital Dimensions

Block D will contain the most apartments with 67 at seven storeys in height. Of these dwellings, 33 will be one-beds and 34 will be two beds. Most apartments in this block will have private balconies or terraces.

The works will see the entire demolition of all existing structures on site.

The development will also include upgrades to vehicular and pedestrian/cyclist access to Kennelsfort Road Lower and landscaping consisting of play equipment and upgrades to the public realm.

While Randelswood Holdings Ltd submitted plans for the development, the McGrath Group is the main contractor of the project.

The property development group recorded profits of €5 million last year.

Palmerstown Build To Rent

Credit: McGrath Group

While work at the Palmerstown site began in 2021, commencements for that year remained static when compared to 2020.

The Building Information Index 2021 Q1-Q4 saw commencements stagnate at €10.5 billion – no change from 2020 and a 10% decrease from 2019.

However, cautious optimism is on the cards for the sector with residential planning applications up 54% in 2021.

This substantial rise is largely attributed to the number of Strategic Housing Development applications submitted in the later months of 2022.

New €10 million plan set to renovate historic Howth Castle

By | Industry News
Howth Castle

Credit: Darmody Architects

Howth Castle is set for a huge makeover with a €10 million plan submitted for its redevelopment.

In a joint application, WSHI Ltd. and the Michal J Wright Group submitted planning permission to Dublin’s Fingal County Council which could see the historic site transformed into a tourist hotspot.

The plan includes major restoration works alongside refurbishments and the construction of new buildings.

The development proposes the demolitions of some farm buildings as well as converting both the castle’s ground floors and the stable areas from primarily residential use to hospitality and tourist retail use.

In the stable area, a 150-seat glass pavilion restaurant is planned alongside both gin-making and cookery schools.

On the ground floor of the stable yard, a number of artisan retail stores are envisioned.

Meanwhile, within the main castle building, there are plans to change the use of the upper ground floor into tea rooms and a reception area.

On the lower ground floor, there will be a conversion of rooms to tea rooms, kitchens and storage areas.

No further works or changes have been made for the other floors of the castle other than a fire upgrade.

On the castle grounds and within the renowned walled gardens, there are intentions to construct a garden centre, a falconry and petting farm as well as picnic and play amenities

The erection of a temporary marquee and ancillary facilities for wedding events is also in current plans.

A pedestrian entrance is planned to open from The Howth Road along with schemes for 6km of walks and cycleways through the estate which aim to link Sutton and Howth.

These works will all be undertaken by a single management company which will cover the castle, the stable areas and attendant lands.

In a statement announcing the planning application, the Michael J Wright Group assured that the National Transport Museum will remain in the heart of the new development.

The project promises the creation of 150 new jobs when the redevelopment is completed, with 100 jobs during the construction phase.

Tetrarch Capital has owned the Howth Castle Estate since 2019 with the Michael J Wright Group now taking a 25-year lease.

The plans were submitted to the County Council on January 31 2022.