FAO Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht- commencement figures

by Bregs Blog admin team


In a recent post we noted a meeting of the Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht on Tuesday 23rd September, when it met with Dr Peter Stafford, Director of Property Industry Ireland. Representatives of various vested property interests were the meeting (link here).

A number of attendees suggested there were no statistics on commencements for 2014. See transcript for Oireachtas Committee meeting pages 7 & 8 here .

Dr Peter Stafford: “One of the legacies of the Celtic tiger is that when the crash occurred, we realised we had very poor data in respect of the property market. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government collects some data on house-building activity and the Central Statistics Office collects certain other data. Various agencies examine different parts of this data but it is extremely difficult to mesh it all together in order to obtain an overall picture of the position with regard to supply and demand at any one time. The Construction 2020 report, which the Government produced a couple of months ago, has at its heart an evidence-based property market. This is something that we have absolutely been calling for all the way through. We are of the view that there should be task forces, forums and committees established and that everybody responsible for collecting data on anything to do with the market should contribute to these in order that said data might be analysed in real time.

[Dr. Peter Stafford:] There are two practical problems. First, the data from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government is often very slow to be released. We do not yet have commencement notices for —–”

Ms Marian Finnegan: “Since February. It is now almost October, but we do not know what has commenced since February because the Department is reviewing its processes.”

Dr. Peter Stafford: “Therefore, when we are making our estimates for the number of houses that will be completed in 2014, at best we only have official data from February, and it is now September.”

To assist attendees and members of the committee, the Bregs Blog emailed all attendees the following information on commencement notice data from the register of the Building Control Management System on 24th September 2014 (sent to Dr. Stafford, seven senators and 14 T.D.s):


Attn: Dr. Peter Stafford – Property Industry Ireland

Cc: Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht

Re: Commercial and Domestic Property Supply and Demand: Property Industry Ireland

Dear Dr. Stafford, Deputies and Senators,

The answer to the question posed at yesterday’s public session of the above committee is 2247! This is the number of building project starts advised to the Department of the Environment via the 34 Building Control Authorities in Ireland between the 1st March and 4th September 2014 i.e. the first six months since the introduction of new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations S.I.9 (BC(A)R).

The information is readily available if one knows where to look for it. Here is a link to our blog post on these commencement notice figures.  (LINK:)  The full text is reproduced below. We are currently analysing this data to clarify the breakdown of commercial and residential (single and multiple) projects. If you would like to be kept informed of future statistics, analysis or blog-posts please let us know.

Commencement Notices | 6 months after S.I. 9

The Building Control Management System (BCMS) is now six months old and published its half-year Building Register on Monday 4th September 2014 at 8.31 a.m. The Building Register records all of the validated Commencement Notices or ‘proposed building starts’ received by the 34 Building Control Authorities throughout Ireland.

The Building Register now records a figure of 2247 as the total number of validated Commencement Notices received over the past 26 weeks since the introduction of the BCMS on 1st March 2014. This would be equivalent to an annual figure of approximately 60% of the 7,456 Commencement Notices submitted in 2013 which was one of the lowest figures in decades. Since implementation the average number of commencement notices being lodged is 86 per week. In 2013 the average number lodged per week was 143.

Of the 2247 Commencement Notices received, 676 (30%) appear to be ‘Short Form’ notices (small projects where an Assigned Certifier is not required) and 133 of the Commencement Notices are for 7-day notices in relation to Fire Safety Certificates. It is noted that 104 of the Commencement Notices on the Building Register appear to have no certifier status or are recorded as ‘Tests’.

There is clear evidence that some of the Commencement Notices currently being submitted are repeat notices for Commencement Notices submitted earlier this year ahead of the introduction of S.I. 9 to try and avoid the implications of the legislation. There is no evidence from other sources that there was any equivalent spike in building tenders in the earlier part of the year that would indicate that these ‘commencement notices’ were actual ‘building starts’. Where works had not commenced before the end of March it has proved necessary to resubmit these Commencement Notices.

This is leading to further confusion in the construction industry as to actual number of project starts in 2014 which appears to be heading for record lows for a variety of reasons including the cost implications of the introduction of S.I. 9.

Other posts on this topic:

Commencement Notices | 6 months after S.I. 9 

Continuing Collapse in Commencement Notices: Building Register – 5th August 2014 

Construction Recovery- watch this space

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

Commencement figures- June 25th 2014

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started