Press piece: BC(A)R causes surge?

by Bregs Blog admin team


In the following article in the Irish Independent from 29th April 2014 by Mark Keenan “New rules spark surge of construction activity“, the tidal wave of new commencement notices to hit local authorities in January/ February 2014 in advance of implementation of SI.9 is discussed. Many in the construction sector are feeling an upswing in activity as a result (Link to Irish Independent article here).

What was not mentioned is the consistent -73% drop off in commencement notices since March 1st, confirmed more recently by Frank McDonald in the Irish Times (see post here).

A recent survey of consumer sentiment undertaken by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) in May suggested an uneven uplift in activity (see survey post here). Quote:

“…All this highlights that not only is work on the ground not on the increase, but the potential for work is also falling away for certain portions of the industry…While everyone in the construction industry is delighted to see an increase in activity, what this survey highlights is that the growth is not being evenly felt across the board.

Some commentators believe this uneven increase in construction activity is due to this “spike” in commencement notice levels in advance of implementation on 1st March 2014, owners trying to avoid the new system. Many believe a “tender hole” will be created towards the end of the summer when the lower levels of commencements feed through the system and tenders for new work will dry up.

The official number of valid commencement notices on the Local Government Management Agency’s Building Register website is shown at 509- this is for a 3 month period to May 26th (source document BuildingRegister26thMay (7)). The average number for 3 months in 2013 was 1,863.

This trend seems has established itself over the past 3 months and when read alongside some of the concerns in the CIF survey, the new regulations would appear to be impeding a recovery in the construction industry and consequent job creation.

Extract from Irish Independent article:


New rules spark surge of construction activity

A DEADLINE for stringent new building regulations helped spark a 200pc surge in residential construction activity in the first two months of the year.

Commencement notices for projects to local authorities jumped 192pc across the country in January and February compared with the same period last year.

Huge pent-up demand in the sector has been cited as one of the causes of the surge in activity.

But another reason was builders attempting to get going before a March deadline in order to avoid a slew of stiffer rules governing home construction.

The figures are contained in the National Housing Construction Index, compiled and issued today by the company Link2Plans, which monitors construction activity on behalf of businesses.

Danny O’Shea, managing director of Link2Plans, said: “What we have seen in January and February of this year with project commencements has been nothing short of staggering.

“Three key factors have all aligned to create this huge increase. The first being a pent-up demand in the sector, the second being increased confidence to start new residential projects, and thirdly the rush to lodge commencement notices before the March 1 deadline for the introduction of the new building regulations.


“What was regarded as purely a regulatory change appears to have had a seismic impact on residential construction activity, greater than any increase arising from changes in last October’s Budget.”

Planning applications were up 21pc in the same period with just 10 counties out of 26 showing a fall compared with the same period last year.

The data for the study is aggregated from real-time planning and project information in every local authority area.

Other posts of interest:

Press: Fears construction recovery will stall – click link here

CIF Construction Confidence Survey – click link here

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started – click link here

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” – click link here

Building Control Officers: Survey – click link here

Breg Snapshot Survey: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

Iaosb letter to Minister Hogan following his replies in the Seanad – click linkhere