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Builders set to work on 2,000 homes if they get green light 

In the current Level 5 lockdown around 50pc of the construction industry is operating


Builder working on scaffold on building site

Builder working on scaffold on building site

Builder working on scaffold on building site

Builders are ready to begin work on 113 sites that will provide almost 2,000 homes, if they get the green light on April 5, according to data from Construction Information Services (CIS) which tracks and monitors all construction projects throughout Ireland.

The data shows the bulk of ‘shovel ready’ sites are in the main urban areas including 504 units in Dublin and around 270 in and around Cork city that are either in new schemes or new phases of existing schemes.

Leinster outside of Dublin has 763 units ready for work to begin, mostly close to the capital and along the main transport routes.

The other main centres where sites are ready to be brought into action are Limerick and Waterford. 

Government is expected to get advice today from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet), for discussion tomorrow, with an announcement likely mid-week on whether sites can reopen. 

Builders are increasingly frustrated that much of the the sector is subject to tough lockdown requirements.

In the current Level 5 lockdown, around 50pc of the industry is operating, with 40,000 workers on site, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).

Citing HSE data, CIF says fewer than 200 people out of 40,000 working on sites in the past three months had tested positive for Covid. There have been five outbreaks (about 30 cases) across an estimated 750 sites still operating around the country, they say.

Building sites for foreign direct investment facilities, including a major project for Intel in Leixlip Co Kildare are allowed to operate, and building is also allowed on social housing schemes. 

Private sector housing, office and other commercial construction is currently banned.

The Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI) warned last week that Covid restrictions will lead to a 25pc collapse in new housing construction this year, with little improvement in 2022.

An original estimate for 26,000 housing completions this year has been cut to just 15,000 in the ESRI’s Quarterly Economic Commentary for spring 2021,

Prof Kieran McQuinn said that fewer planning applications, and adrop in new site commencements, mean a worsening housing crisis will be one of the lasting effects of the pandemic.

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