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.