CONSTRUCTION the official magazine of the construction industry federation
FACING THE FUTURE FOCUS ON THE HOUSING SECTOR
January/February 2015 CONSTRUCTION 22
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ousing certainly looms large this summer. And that’s of little surprise. In this issue we speak to the contractors, the commentators and the observers and get their take on how the land lies. The backdrop to all of this is, of course, Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness, published by Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government. The Plan “provides a multi-stranded, action-oriented approach to achieving many of the Government’s key housing objectives, as set down in the Programme for a Partnership Government, to significantly increase the supply of social housing, to double the output of overall housing from the current levels to at least 25,000 per annum by 2020, to service all tenure types, and to tackle homelessness in a comprehensive manner”. Meanwhile, we also meet some inspiring individuals in this issue. One of these is Ivan McCarthy who
has been elected to the board of trustees of the CIOB. Ivan tells us what this means and looks ahead to his term in office. We hear also how Winthrop Engineering has been engaging with potential future talent on a variety of levels. Meanwhile, we check in with our regular contributors, including Susan O’Mara on pensions – in this issue Susan looks at the aftermath of the Brexit vote in the UK. When does time start to run in the case of a construction claim? That is the question addressed by Rhona Henry of Matheson. Elsewhere, Tadgh Kelly considers planning contribution refunds. We also have more on the Construction Contracts Act from Anthony Hussey and we look again at Drones in Construction, providing a special checklist for their successful and safe use. All this and the latest CIF and wider industry news. C Speak to you soon, Martin
YOUR Construction Industry Federation team - www.cif.ie Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6. Tel: 01 4066000 Fax: 01 4966953 Email: email@example.com Twitter: @CIF_Ireland Construction House, 8 Montpellier Terrace, The Crescent, Galway. Tel: 091 502680 Fax: 091 584575 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Construction House, 4 Eastgate Avenue, Little Island, Cork. Tel: 021 4351410 Fax: 021 4351416 Email: email@example.com PRESIDENT: Michael Stone Director General: Tom Parlon Chief Operations Officer: George Hennessy
MAIN CONTRACTING: Martin Lang, Alison Irving SPECIALIST CONTRACTING: Sean Downey, Gillian Ross INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS & EMPLOYMENT SERVICES: Jean Winters, Cheryl Treanor EASTERN REGION: Hubert Fitzpatrick, Noel O’Connor SOUTHERN REGION: Conor O’Connell, Ronan O’Brien WESTERN / MIDLAND REGION: Justin Molloy SAFETY & MANPOWER SERVICES: Dermot Carey LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT: Robert Butler MEMBERSHIP: Renee McManus FINANCE / ACCOUNTS: Gabriel MacGrath COMMUNICATIONS: Shane Dempsey, Rosalind Travers
CIRI - www.ciri.ie CIRI OFFICE: Jeanette Mair CIRI CPD OFFICE: Robert Butler affinity schemes Safe T Cert Dermot Carey Affinity Cover Conor O’Connell, Justin Molloy, Gillian Heffernan CQAI Robert Butler Register of Heritage Contractors Jeanette Mair Imagine Renee McManus CERS: Frances McNally Tel: 01- 407 1434 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org MILESTONE ADVISORY: Susan O’Mara Tel: 01- 406 8021 Email: email@example.com CWPS: Brigid Finn Tel: 01- 406 8025 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DIRECTOR / EXECUTIVE TEAM HOUSING & PLANNING: Hubert Fitzpatrick, Noel O’Connor, Jeanette Mair
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 01
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WATCH THE INSTALLATION VIDEO
Cover Story Housing – freeing the log jam
CONTENTS 43 IN CONVERSATION
5 CIF NEWS
The latest from the CIF including a message from the Director General, Tom Parlon
Ivan McCarthy, recently elected to the board of trustees, CIOB
13 COVER STORY Housing – freeing the log jam
A new series kicks off with a focus on Winthrop Engineering
35 FEATURED PROJECT
47 PENSIONS with SUSAN O’MARA
44 ENGAGING WITH FUTURE TALENT
A very special project taking shape in Waterford
Susan considers the aftermath of the Brexit vote
36 LEGAL VIEW
49 TECH TALK
When does time start to run in the case of a construction claim?
38 CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS ACT
Drones – a checklist for use
50 PLANNING CONTRIBUTION REFUNDS – THE LAW A special feature from Tadgh Kelly
The one thing you MUST know
40 PENSIONS FEATURE
A look at some new on-line, part-time programmes, followed by our Training Schedule
Paula Thornton asks: are your pension savings adequate?
56 INDUSTRY NEWS A selection of stories from the wider construction sector
CIF meetings and events
63 TIMELY ADVICE From the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC)
64 LAST FIX
Success for Gyproc Ireland in the Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 03
Director General’s Update R
ecently we saw one of those massive political events that will have ramifications across the UK, the island of Ireland Tom Parlon and the EU. The Brexit shockwave has spread from Westminster, to the global stockmarket, to the UK property sector and beyond. In the UK, a number of property funds have been frozen to prevent flight and the spread of panic selling. The impact on Ireland was seen in a significant drop in value in Irish shares. Initial estimates indicate that the UK might lose 2% GDP up to 2019 with a knock-on effect to the Irish economy of a loss of .9% GDP. However, the longer-term effects are uncertain and very much dependent on our role in negotiations between the EU and UK. This in turn depends on the approach of the new Prime Minister Theresa May who will have to adopt a hardline towards exit. Our own IDA was quick off the mark to promote Ireland as a destination for any firms considering relocation from the UK to another EU country. The construction industry stands ready to support these efforts through our capacity and competence in building specialist buildings and essential national infrastructure. We have expressed our view that the Irish Government must engage with the UK and the EU to ensure that as much certainty as possible is brought into the process and Ireland is not disadvantaged in negotiations. CIF members require as much information on the UK’s next steps and the timeframes involved so they can measure risk and plan for the coming months. Nowhere is this more critical than in relation to the border with Northern Ireland.
The recent Ulster Bank PMI index showed strong growth and confidence. However the survey was taken in advance of Brexit.
Anecdotally, companies appear to be delaying investment decisions and this is likely to wash through in the figures next quarter. The CIF will continue to monitor the impact of the UK’s decision on the Irish construction industry and liaise with the constructionrelated representative bodies such as the National Federation of Builders to keep abreast of the situation as it develops. If you have any concerns or queries, please contact me or a CIF staff member who will try to answer any questions.
Delegation meets with Matt Carthy
In the days after Brexit, the CIF participated in the National Economic Dialogue. This is a central set-piece of the budgetary process. Many of our staff members put across CIF policy positions on working groups focused on taxation, infrastructure, job creation and housebuilding. These positions will now be fed into the budgetary process for consideration by the Minister for Finance. The CIF strongly made the case that the Irish Government must now increase infrastructure investment under the Public Capital Programme. This was accepted by all stakeholders at the dialogue that included civil society bodies, NGO, trade unions and senior Government officials. The Government has announced that it will devote another €1bn in infrastructure investment next year and this is to be welcomed. However, now is the time for the Irish Government to make a case for the relaxation of fiscal constraints on capital spending. We have the fastest growing economy and population in the EU and yet we have the lowest investment in infrastructure. It’s not hard to predict that this will reduce our growth trajectory over the coming decade.
Finally, I would like to wish all our members a good holiday (if you get to take them). The CIF will be available in the coming weeks for any queries or issues you have so please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Our photograph was taken at the offices of Matt Carthy, MEP, in his Carrickmacross constituency office. Included are, from left to right: Charles Wills, Wills Brothers Ltd.; Matt Carthy, MEP; Gillian Murtagh, Shay Murtagh Precast Ltd.; Justin Molloy, CIF. A delegation from the CIF Western & Midland region met with Deputy Carthy to discuss a number of issues including: The two tiered recovery in the Irish construction industry; infrastructural deficits impacting on regional development; difficulties with accessing development finance and planning matters. Also discussed was, the practice by some contracting authorities of ‘bundling’ a number of public sector construction contracts into one. Other matters discussed included, the inability of regional contractors to pre-qualify for public sector contracts where the pre-qualification criteria has been set too high by the contracting authority, and how best to promote regional development at European level.
For comment on the recent Housing Action Plan, see our cover story.
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 05
apprentices.ie continues to garner praise
“The CIF’s initiative to launch the new apprentice website apprentices.ie is testament to their commitment to promote the industry and it couldn’t have come at a better time.”
That is the message to Construction from Kerry Power, HR Manager with Suir Engineering. Says Kerry: “We at Suir Engineering have over 100 apprentices which means we are always on the look out to recruit new apprentices. “Promoting apprenticeships to young people can be difficult as a result of changing social media forums, which means companies also have to adapt their recruiting strategies. “Having a website which promotes apprenticeships as a whole and allows employers advertise their vacancies provides a win-win solution.”
Novel ‘shared apprentice’ scheme kicks off
group of four contractors ( Cleary Doyle / Anthony Neville Homes / Clancy Construction / Mythen Construction ) are part of an innovative pilot scheme to boost apprenticeship registrations in the wet trades. They are acting as a co-operative to work together to take on apprentices and to ensure that they finish their training.
John O’Shaugnessy of Clancy’s tells us that this scheme came about due to “the lack of take-up to wet trades in the industry over the last number of years. “The fall-off in the number of apprentices to the wet trades has been caused by a number of factors,” explains John: • Change in business model for main contractors who are mostly now management contractors who employ sub-contractors to carry out the work for them. • The last Government decision to apply a student levy on apprentices during the off-the-job phases 4 & 6 of their training • Loss of redundancy rebate, thus a significant cost to employers
“The more that can be done to drive young people to the website, www. apprentices.ie the better, says Kerry, adding that it is “a fantastic first step” in encouraging young people to explore the option of an apprenticeship. “Well done to the CIF for continuing to be proactive in promoting the industry!”
06 CONSTRUCTION July/August 2016
• Lack of financial support to employers from the state to support the training of apprentices. Says John: “We in the industry have called on Government to support employers who are willing to take on apprentices: extend the JobPlus scheme to the wet trades, remove the student levy on apprentices and reintroduce some form of redundancy rebate.
“However no action was taken by the last Government on these issues and the uptake on the wet trades continues to be at very low levels. “The MBCA and IHBA through the Manpower Education and Training Committee of the CIF came together to establish a pilot shared apprenticeship scheme for the South East region approved by Solas and the ETBs.”
In simple terms this scheme allows the four employer companies involved to share apprentices between them during the term of the apprenticeships and allows the apprentices to be trained by sub-contractors on site once these subcontractors have qualified trades people who have the appropriate craft certificate approved by Solas and the ETBs. It is envisaged that during the term of the apprenticeship there may be times when the original/current employer won’t have continuity of work for the apprentice and this is where the shared apprenticeship model applies. One of the other contractors will take the apprentice onto their site where they will continue the apprenticeship under the Solas rules of apprenticeship. They will also be responsible for the apprentices’ welfare and health and safety.
The original employer will continue to pay the apprentice, and the contractor who the apprentice has been transferred to will reimburse the original employer for the duration of the transfer. It will be the original employer’s responsibility to liaise with the ETB training advisor during these short-term transfers.
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CIF Irish Water Briefing At the recent Irish Water Breakfast Briefing in CIF offices, Dublin, were the following:
Martin Lang, CIF Director of Main Contracting; Conor Coyne, Irish Water Head of Commercial and Procurement; Keith Doherty, Irish Water Capital Procurement Manager; Mark Rush, Irish Water Capital Projects Commercial Manager; Liam Doyle, Irish Water Contract Strategy Lead; Maura Joy, Irish Water Capital Delivery Manager; Pat Lucey, then CECA President.
A great turnout
Keith Doherty, Irish Water Capital Procurement Manager (standing); Mark Rush, Irish Water Capital Projects Commercial Manager; Liam Doyle, Irish Water Contract Strategy Lead
Senator Paudie Coffey addresses Waterford event on new Act Senator Paudie Coffey addressed the employees of leading construction companies from Waterford this summer.
Senator Coffey was instrumental in the introduction of the recently enacted Construction Contracts Act. Senator Coffey, a former Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, with special responsibility for Housing, Planning and Coordination of the Construction 2020 Strategy told the audience: “This act has the potential to be transformative for the construction industry. “It aims to regularise the relationship between parties and will facilitate a robust sustainable construction sector that will meet the needs of our growing economy and increased housing and commercial demand. “This brings certainty in terms of payment between contractors and sub-contractors and will mean more effective planning and costing for construction companies and the public and private sector organisations executing projects.
08 CONSTRUCTION July/August 2016
“I would like to acknowledge the role played by the CIF in supporting this act and promoting it amongst its membership. “New minimum contractual provisions concerning payment arrangements between the parties to a construction contract will benefit a large majority of those companies in the industry. “Where payment disputes do arise between the parties to a construction contract, either party will have the right to refer the payment dispute for adjudication, which will be concluded within a set timeframe.”
CIF Director of Specialist Contracting, Sean Downey, said: “The construction industry will benefit greatly from the introduction of the Construction Contracts Act. “The Act will be of benefit to the entire supply chain, bringing more certainty and efficiency to dispute resolution and prompt payment.” The CIF will be running a series of briefings and training programmes for members over the coming months.
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 09
Deputy Séan Canney was guest speaker at Galway meeting
cpas autumn roadshows CPAS are delighted to announce the dates for their upcoming autumn roadshow. A broad range of speakers from across the industry will cover topics that include the economic outlook, the investment horizon, tax and regulations, retirement options and how to plan and fund for retirement.
Date and venue details:
Our picture is from the CIF Galway branch meeting on Monday, 4 July in the Ardilaun House Hotel, Galway. Seen here are CIF members with guest speaker Deputy Séan Canney, Minister of State for the Office of Public Works with responsibility for Flooding and Justin Molloy, Regional Director. The meeting was very informative with a number of issues being discussed. These included the two-tiered recovery in the Irish construction industry; infrastructural deficits; the programme for Government; housing and planning matters; public sector procurement.
Tuesday 6 September: The Castleknock Hotel, Dublin 07.30-10.00 Wednesday 7 September: Radisson Blu Hotel, Little Island, Cork 07.30-10.00 Tuesday 13 September: Radisson St. Helens, Stillorgan, Dublin 07.30-10.00 Wednesday 14 September: Maldron Hotel, Galway 07.30-10.00 Wednesday 14 September: The Tullamore Court Hotel, Co.Offaly 15.00-17.00 For further information contact: Paula Thornton at email@example.com
CIF Regional Development Policy delegate meeting with Marian Harkin, MEP A delegation from the CIF Regional Development Policy sub-committee met with Marian Harkin, MEP on 20 June 2016 to discuss a number of issues impacting on the construction industry.
Issues Issues discussed ranged from contractors’ access to development finance and planning matters, to regional infrastructural deficits and SME contractors’ access to public procurement contracts. Justin Molloy, CIF; Charles Wills, Wills Brothers Ltd.; Dominic Doheny, CIF Senior Vice President, John Flanagan Developments Ltd.; Marian Harkin, MEP; Paul Carey, Carey Building Contractors Ltd; and Brendan Henry, Kilcawley Construction. July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 11
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ASPHALT & MACADAM
freeing the log jam One challenge associated with writing about the housing market is the constant need to try to find new ways of describing the lie of the land. As the various elements have continued to press against and influence each other, it has sometimes seemed that things were almost stuck fast. So what is the current thinking? And will the new Action Plan help unfree the log jam?
e embarked on this issue with notions of predicting the future of the housing market. It soon became clear that fully examining the present was a challenge in itself. The launch of the Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness has helped us to refine our thinking. The plan, contains five pillars: addressing homelessness; accelerating social housing; building more private homes; improving the rental sector and utilising existing housing stock, such as vacant homes. So here, in this snapshot in time, we present an overview from different perspectives garnered during the summer of 2016. We have spoken, for example, with a number of house builders this summer – and we have revisited them in light of the Plan for their initial reactions. It will be noted that the ones we feature are largely building in very attractive areas close to amenities. The Dublin area is strong of course – along with other major centres of population – and there are differing experiences depending on where in the country one is located. All of the house builders we spoke to this summer raised the issue of the cost of development as well as the Central Bank’s mortgage lending rules. The first-time buyer was mentioned a lot for a reason. The chains cannot move if people are not able to start on the ladder. It affects all. The knock-on effects can also mean that these people sometimes go onto social housing lists and into the private rented sector. And so the lists grow. And with many landlords having left the market this fuels an already growing difficulty when it comes to private renting. Hence the log jam.
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 13
And so there is certainly widespread welcome for the Plan with Contractors and others offering up a cross-section of thoughts and observations as expected. Park Developments Group for example, tell us they are “supportive of Minister Coveney’s quick response with the announcement of the recent Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness to assist in streamlining the process for the delivery of major housing developments. “This Action Plan should enable the various bodies involved in housing production to join forces in order to meet market demand. “Other factors need to come in behind this initiative, primarily funding for both construction and mortgages, to ensure its success.” Jim Wood of the Wood Group tells us: “Hopefully over the next few months some of the actions in the document will translate into greater output, but I think we’ll be depending on Mr. Noonan’s budget to hopefully see more tangible initiatives.” Meanwhile Ravenshall Developments’ Matt Gallagher’s initial thoughts were of “the need to begin working on this as soon as possible – if they want production up”.
Tom Parlon, Director General CIF – “Coordinated follow-through is key.”
Tom Parlon “There is widespread agreement that the housing supply shortage is a major challenge facing Irish society. “The strategy is a welcome step in addressing this challenge of unlocking supply in a sustainable way. “The ambitious targets set out will only be achieved if these measures support house building activity and there is coordinated follow through by all stakeholders including the industry, government and local authorities. “The key measures that the CIF believe may have the potential to increase supply include the Local Infrastructure Housing
Director of the Irish Home Builders Association, Hubert Fitzpatrick
“The challenges to be addressed are complex.” “The key objective of the Action Plan must be to improve affordability for purchasers and renters, and reduce costs. “The house building industry will proactively work with the Department in addressing these key issues. “There is a whole generation of young couples locked out of home ownership at the moment. “Minister Coveney’s strategy outlines a number of practical and immediate steps that can be taken to speed up the delivery of homes. “The next step must be to tweak the restrictions on mortgage approvals to ensure that those who can afford repayments can secure the necessary finance for their first home. “Our research indicates that the average couple (a teacher and a garda with 5 years’ employment) find themselves €8,000 below the annual income level required to purchase a new average starter home using the loan to income and deposit criteria set by the Central Bank.
14 CONSTRUCTION July/August 2016
Activation Fund of €200m, the new Housing Delivery Office in the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government, and the proposed fast track planning process directly to An Bord Pleanala for developments of 100 + houses. “These are all very helpful measures to assist in shortening the time involved in bringing new residential developments online. “The CIF and its members will continue to work with the Department of Housing and the wider Government and its agencies to increase the supply of quality homes in the next five years. “Coordinated follow-through is key to ensure the right types of houses are built in the right areas to ensure we build sustainable communities in the coming decade.”
“Banks will not provide the finance required by home builders if they cannot see realisable demand i.e. a steady stream of mortgage approved purchasers”. “The industry has made a detailed Submission to the Department of Finance for the Budget 2017. “Initiatives sought include the introduction of a ‘Help To Buy Scheme’ akin to the successful scheme that operates in the UK. “In addition, a temporary reduction in the VAT rate from 13.5% to 9% for housing activity would assist homebuyers and increase building activity. “An increase in housebuilding activity of about 16% would make this measure exchequer neutral. “Changes to the operation of the standard development contribution schemes would assist as these significant levies are a major upfront cost for home builders. “Other initiatives sought are designed to encourage an increased level of housebuilding and rental stock levels so that the residential investor can return to the market. “Initiatives announced in the Action Plan must now be complemented by measures in Budget 2017 so that a sustainable level of housebuilding can be restored over the years ahead.”
Peter McVerry Trust
Bringing empty properties back into the housing system will allow time for the major construction projects to come on stream.
Pat Doyle, CEO, Peter McVerry Trust Peter McVerry Trust has welcomed the publication of the Housing Action Plan. The charity said that the plan included a number of new measures that will help address the urgent needs of people in homelessness including young people and families.
Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust, tells Construction, “the Housing Action Plan is a strong statement of intent and if implemented in full will bring about a significant reduction in the number of people in homelessness and result in a dramatic increase in the number of housing units available in the housing system as a
whole. “We believe the Housing Action Plan demonstrates a clear sense of urgency to address these issues. “Minister Coveney has also achieved a major breakthrough by securing cross Government support to tackle the housing and homeless emergency. “The importance of inter-departmental buy-in is critical to the success of the plan and it is very positive to see strong input from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and Department of Health, amongst others.”
“Peter McVerry Trust welcomes the major expansion of the Housing First approach to tackle homelessness. “We strongly believe that the roll out of Housing First needs to be accompanied by the creation of a national standard
for Housing First services to ensure the highest quality of service provision and best possible outcomes for service users. “The tripling of targets in Dublin for Housing First and the roll out of the model to other urban areas will be a critical step in tackling homelessness, helping to address the needs of people sleeping rough and those in homelessness for periods of 6 months or longer.”
Mr Doyle said Peter McVerry Trust fully supports measures to re-active vacant buildings across the State. “These units will, if targeted successfully, become a major source of readily available housing supply in urban areas. “Bringing empty properties back into the housing system will allow time for the major construction projects to come on stream in the next 2-3 years.”
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 15
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The Action Plan is launched! S
imon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government has published Rebuilding Ireland – An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.
The Plan provides “a multi-stranded, actionoriented approach to achieving many of the Government’s key housing objectives, as set down in the Programme for a Partnership Government, to significantly increase the supply of social housing, to double the output of overall housing from the current levels to at least 25,000 per annum by 2020, to service all tenure types, and to tackle homelessness in a comprehensive manner”. This whole-of-Government Plan has been developed in close collaboration with other key Government Departments and Agencies, under the oversight of a dedicated Cabinet Committee chaired by An Taoiseach. The Plan addresses all aspects of the housing system under five Pillars: • • • • •
Address Homelessness Accelerate Social Housing Build More Homes Improve the Rental sector, and Utilise Existing Housing
Launching the Action Plan, the Taoiseach said, “In forming the current Government, I was determined that the housing challenge was going to be addressed fully and finally, which is why it was positioned as a key objective in the Programme for a Partnership Government. “This is a cross-Government plan, which also stretches beyond into the local government and voluntary sectors.” Minister Simon Coveney said: “Rebuilding Ireland is a really ambitious
This Plan is designed to accelerate all types of housing supply – social, private and rental. and far-reaching initiative by Government to provide homes for people – it is my own, and this Government’s, number one priority. “This Plan is designed to accelerate all types of housing supply – social, private and rental. “It is action-focused and will result in a dramatic increase in the delivery of much needed homes in the right locations at more affordable prices. “Over the next six years, we are going to provide some 47,000 new social houses and we are going to progressively increase housing output generally towards the target of producing 25,000 houses per year
through all channels. “While the immediate priority is housing homeless families, many of whom are currently living in hotels, all aspects of the housing system are addressed within the Plan. “This means that young people looking to rent or buy, families looking to trade up or down, students who need good accommodation, older people, people with a disability and others are all encompassed within the Plan and its 84 time-bound actions.”
The Minister indicated that the Plan provides a strong platform for action, as well as serving as a focus for debate and discussion as the implementation process moves ahead. “Today’s launch is only our starting point, but it’s crucial that we move from words to actions immediately. “We may not have all the answers to address every issue right now but the actions, funding and structures that we are announcing today have the potential to make early and very substantial progress on the journey to fixing our broken housing sector. “My Department will be driving implementation, including through a new
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 17
dedicated Housing Delivery Office, and we will measure and report on progress regularly. “While it’s a huge challenge, it simply has to be done and working with all of the stakeholders involved, across Government and beyond, I’m confident that we will succeed in our ambitions.” In welcoming the Plan, Paschal Donohoe T.D., Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, said, “we face a number of significant challenges in funding public services brought about by the period of reduced investment following the economic crash. “As the economy and employment grows under the sound management of this Government, we will have more resources to address the various challenges in our
society. “In the meantime, we have to prioritise and fund those areas that need it most. “Amongst the biggest challenges for the Government are the shortage of housing at affordable prices and rents and the unacceptably high level of homelessness. “I am, therefore, making available an additional €2,200m in capital to 2021, or 43% of the available public capital, for investment in housing under this Action Plan, despite the many other demands for public investment that will have to be considered in this year’s estimates and next year’s capital review. “Housing will also be a priority for current expenditure in the annual estimates.”
“Housing Supply in the Mid-West” - briefing There are a number of educational and informative CIF briefings taking place across the regions on an ongoing basis. Activity covers all areas – housing and related matters being no exception. One recent example was a special briefing on housing supply in the Mid-West.
he CIF Mid-West Branch hosted a Breakfast Briefing entitled “Housing Supply in the Mid-West”. The event was held in the Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick. Over 50 people booked in for the event.
Those in attendance included CIF Director General, Tom Parlon; local CIF members; representatives from Limerick Chamber, Limerick City and County Council and IBEC. M.A. Ryan & Sons, Rooney Auctioneers and AIB also had tables at the event. Chairman of the CIF Mid-West branch Mike Ryan welcomed the guest speakers
18 CONSTRUCTION July/August 2016
L – R Gordon Kearney, Managing Director of Rooney Auctioneers; Conor O’Connell, CIF Regional Director; Kersten Mehl, Director of Kersten Mehl Property Management Limited (KMPM); Tom Parlon, CIF Director General; Michael Ryan, Chairman of the CIF Mid-West Branch and Managing Director of M.A Ryan & Sons Ltd. Gordon Kearney, Managing Director of Rooney Auctioneers and Kersten Mehl of Kersten Mehl Property Management (KMPM). Gordon gave a presentation on housing supply in the region. He informed attendees that there were only 7 active multi-unit housing developments currently ongoing in Limerick compared to 17 sites in 2008. Gordon also mentioned that there were only 353 houses currently advertised for sale in Limerick on Daft.ie compared to 925 houses in 2009. One of the main reasons for the lack of housing stock in the region it was claimed, was to do with the current market price for
housing being below current construction costs.
Kersten Mehl spoke about the rental market in the region. Kersten stated that the supply of housing in the rental sector is even more severe than the buying market. Attendees also heard how it had become difficult for landlords to operate in the rental market, with many private landlords leaving the market altogether. There was a very informative Q&A session after the presentations with Tom, Kersten, Gordon and Mike answering questions.
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Housing – the state of the nation Construction in the residential sector has gained some traction as Ireland’s economy continues to recover from the recession says Construction Information Services (CIS).
hile 2015/2016 has witnessed some promising trends, with Construction Information Services’ Quarterly Report in July 2016 showing that residential developments on site for 2016 is nearly twice that of 2015 in the same time period, there still remain underlying issues halting growth in the sector. The Department of Housing have released the Action Plan on the government’s response to the crisis in the housing sector for the next five years. The plan seeks to ramp up the delivery of housing and address some of the underlying obstacles preventing more rapid delivery of housing supply.
Obstacles Facing the Residential Sector The first obstacle are the costs associated with building in Ireland. In May 2016, research by the Society of Chartered Surveyors found that the average cost of building a new house is €45,000 higher than the asking price of a typical home in greater Dublin. They found that the average build cost of a home in Dublin stands at €330,000 of which only 45% of this cost is spent on the actual construction of the unit. The remaining 55% is made up of land costs, valued added tax, the profit margin and funding costs. The solution to the high costs involved in residential construction lies in governmental intervention. Some strides have been made in this regard within the report through, for example, the streamlining of the planning process for residential developments of more than 100 units. These large housing developments will now go straight to An Bord Pleanála for a fast-tracked planning permission process which will stay in effect until 2020.
20 CONSTRUCTION July/August 2016
The Action Plan has begun to address the shortage of funding for infrastructure in the country. Issues remain however due to the high cost of building housing units making development outside of Dublin less viable in the current market. This is witnessed in Construction Information Services’ Quarterly Report in July 2016, which shows that 70% of all residential developments on site are being constructed within Co. Dublin. A second obstacle is the high barriers of entry which the consumer faces when entering the housing market. The Central Bank has created regulations which has made the average consumer unable to obtain a mortgage for a new home. Currently, a first-time buyer is required to have a 10% deposit on the first €220,000 on a new home and 20% on the excess over €200,000. For example, the starting wage of a newly hired teacher currently stands at €31,000; with regulations by the Central Bank restricting lenders to only loan 3.5 times the applicant’s annual income, this means a newly hired teacher’s borrowing power falls far below the cost of an average new home in Ireland. Another barrier for the consumer are the high costs of rents in the country. In Dublin, the Residential Tenancies Board reported in June 2016 that rents in the city are now higher than previous peak
record levels, witnessed in late 2007. The high rents in the country make it unrealistic for consumers to save towards a deposit on a mortgage. In 2016, the prospect for the majority of first-time buyers entering the housing market is simply unachievable. In response, the Department of Housing has created a €10 million annual fund which will be allocated to 2,000 private rental properties by 2018.
The Action Plan has begun to address the shortage of funding for infrastructure in the country with a €200 million local infrastructure fund. This is a promising call to action as there are an estimated 49,000 residential units with planning approval in Dublin which are unable to go on site due to ‘infrastructure deficits’. Local authorities are being encouraged to work with the fund to upgrade distributor roads, bridges, surface water management, amenities and utility diversion to spur on the development of private housing. The Department of Housing will distribute the funds to areas with shortages in funding.
Social housing has been a contentious issue
cover story timely fashion by the state. for the newly formed government. Minister The Action Plan lays out proposals to Coveney has vowed to make homelessness a review the legislation involved in Part 8 priority for his department. applications but fails to address how it The first step in tackling the issue has will achieve its aim in been addressing the low rate of streamlining the process. social housing developments Modular units will going on site. also be created to In the first three quarters assist those currently of 2015, an estimated 246 living in emergency units of social housing accommodation (e.g. were completed, with local hotels, hostels, and authority developments only B&Bs). making up 28 units. The government’s plan A number of initiatives have is to have 1,500 rapid been announced in the Action delivery units (modular Plan to regenerate the dormant homes) constructed by rates of activity in the social 2018. housing sector. A total of 47,000 social The first is the allocation Courtesy of Ravenshall housing units are in the of €70million to the Housing pipeline to be built by 2021 in an effort to Agency to house homeless citizens. tackle the homeless crisis in Ireland. This money is to be used to purchase vacant houses and for refurbishments of existing homes to provide 1,600 units. Student Accommodation Social housing is also to be fast-tracked Student accommodation is another element with the streamlining of the Part 8 planning of housing which is suffering from the procedure. sector’s current stagnation. The current form of Part 8 planning is With the soaring costs of rent hindering social units being delivered in a in university towns, governmental
intervention will be required to alleviate the issue of students unable to secure housing for the academic year. The Higher Education Authority estimated that in 2014 there were 31,296 available student beds. This is problematic as the projected demand for student bed spaces is estimated to be up to 57,000 bed spaces. Currently, there are only an estimated 7,000 bed spaces in planning or under construction in the country. This will create another year of uncertainty for students returning to college in September. Minister Coveney has stated that the answer lies in modular units, telling the Housing Committee in June 2016, “the solutions to student accommodation lie in rapid-build technologies, modular units and so on”.
The Department of Housing’s Action Plan addresses some of the pressing issues with residential construction but it will require more extensive engagement with private developers in order to create a sustainable housing market for Ireland’s future.
Karl Deeter – analyst / financial advisor
First-time buyers are now getting much larger gifts from parents.
“Regarding the Central Bank’s mortgage lending rules,” says Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers, “people have said they keep property prices down; well, we have had them for a while and prices are defiantly rising and that is actually the evidence we have seen from lots of countries. “We have been seeing first-time buyers getting much larger ‘gifts’. “If you are not from a rich family you stay in the rented sector. That acts like a tax on earnings as rents are going up because of the shortage issue.
“The story of wealth across the world is actually the story of home ownership,” says Karl Deeter. “When you take people out of the wealth system you are hurting them for a generation and potentially their children as well, as wealth tends to pass down through generations. “I don’t think that’s fair. “The Harvard School of Economics did research in 2003 about the wealth effect of
home ownership. “People said, ‘well, what about the crash?’ Well, they did this research again and found that even through the crash it had a positive wealth effect. “Most people who lost their wealth by losing a home only lost the wealth that home had accumulated for them. “Renters had zero or negligible wealth."
“Meanwhile, sitting in his office in Pearse Street in Dublin city centre Karl notes how many empty buildings lie just “a stone’s throw” away. Karl has long been an advocate of utilizing unused buildings to help solve the crisis. Reacting to the Action Plan he notes that, “there is a mention of having empty buildings used but the operational aspects of it are not known or functional.”. “A lot are state owned around here,” he says. “They could be used straight away – utilised to help tackle the property and homelessness crisis.”
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 21
Jim Wood – Wood Group. Currently building at: SeaGreen, Greystones T he Wood Group was founded by Jim Wood Senior in the 1960s and they are third generation housebuilders with Jim’s grandson now working as a foreman with the organisation.
Jim Wood junior, is now managing director. “The principal site we have at the moment is called SeaGreen,” says Jim. This is a development of 180 houses in Greystones, County Wicklow. It was launched in spring of this year and it has got a very good reaction. It's perhaps not surprising given the desirability of the north Wicklow town, its connectivity to the Capital and access to both sea and rolling countryside, all centred on a quaint village location. “It is a terrific site close to the centre of Greystones,” says Jim from the SeaGreen show house, with its magnificent views out over the Irish Sea. “It’s probably the best site we’ve ever built on,” Jim continues. “It is a fifteen minute walk to the Dart and features very high spec three and four bed semi-detached houses, all A2 rated, with triple-glazed windows and prices ranging from around €400k for a three-bed. “We’re very pleased at how it’s going.”
While houses like those at SeaGreen may be doing well at the moment – and are doubtless popular with “trader-uppers” – this is not always the picture nationwide and Jim is well aware of this. Looking at that wider picture, Jim says the major problems with the lack of supply are the availability of finance coupled with structural changes in the industry itself. Listing the issues as he sees them, Jim notes firstly, a lack of finance. “Generally the pillar banks are not financing developers or house builders,” he says. “You may get finance if your site is ready to go with full planning permission, but you are still going to have to supply 30% – 40% of the equity. It is very hard to source. Says Jim: “The traditional ‘debt’ banking model is broken still. It is replaced to some extent by private equity, but that’s a very different financial model because of the pressure from equity providers for shorter term returns.” Next, says Jim, “There has been a good
Land is consolidating in larger plots. – Jim Wood.
deal of consolidation within the industry. Loan books being sold results in large land banks being sold together. “So land has consolidated in larger parcels owned by (NAMA) banks, private equity houses and PLCs, and because of that it is slower to come to the market – they have different agendas. “Traditionally, when small or medium sized sites came to the market they appealed to small and medium sized house builders. So you get lots of builders bidding on sites (usually with BOI or AIB Finance) and these guys moved a lot quicker to get the product to the market - because they had to.” “Generally the current land stock is consolidated and the process of turning these sites into houses is consequently far more bureaucratic and complex. “I don’t believe there is much likelihood of hoarding. Given the strong demand the best return is to get houses built. It’s simply that
the new owners can’t move quickly enough”. “I have no doubt it will be released to the market but the process is slowing things down. "Supply has been delayed.” As with most of our contractors, Jim mentions the cost of regulation and house building as another issue.
“The quality of housing over last ten years has been transformed,” says Jim. “That is good but the regulation involved is extremely onerous. In particular the ‘disconnect’ between the Department of Environment and Local Authority requirements has to be addressed urgently. “Adapting to the pace of regulatory change in recent times is hard enough without the needless adoption of different standards across county boundaries” Out of the above list Jim rates finance as the most pressing. “Finance is the oil of industry. In good quantities it tends to smooth out a lot of daily difficulties. So for me the cost and availability of finance is crucial to improved supply,” he says. “Spec house building is a risky business because it is both slow and very capital intensive. By the time you go in and buy a site and get planning permission, open a show house, sell and then get paid for houses you are talking a project life of years.
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 23
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“Even when it can be sourced, if the cost of finance is 8%, 9% or 10%, it leaves little room for unforeseen risks or a shock to the market within the project lifetime. If you are paying that rate over years it is very easy to run into trouble.” “I welcome initiatives such as Activate
Capital but I’d love to see much more progress by government to provide low cost finance for housing to generate and to motivate supply.” On the Action Plan, Jim says, “My initial reaction was that I'm heartened by the urgent tone of the Minister's words and his willingness to tackle some issues, but I found the pillar of the plan to 'Build More Houses' light on immediate measurable actions. “I think that we'll need to hear from Mr. Coveney's colleague, the Minister for Finance, before we can judge if this is an adequate response from Government. “Overall the 'Rebuilding Ireland' document didn't include an awful lot of
concrete measures to encourage the supply of private housing. “While I very much welcome the promised legislative changes to speed up the planning process, there were few material actions included to reduce the burden of taxation on house construction costs (other than the levy rebate, which in itself isn't nearly enough to have a material effect across the market). “I also welcome the moves to put in place increased funding and credit facilities for infrastructure, but I'm disappointed that there is nothing to address the supply and cost of credit for speculative development itself, especially given that the European Central Bank is pushing out very low cost finance to stimulate growth. “Hopefully over the next few months some of the actions in the document will translate into greater output, but I think we'll be depending on Mr. Noonan's budget to hopefully see more tangible initiatives.”
Matt Gallagher – Ravenshall Developments. Currently building at: Woodbank, Shankill Currently working at Woodbank in Shankill, County Dublin, Ravenshall Developments are marketing apartments and duplexes from just over €300k up to €450k. Houses here start from the low €500ks.
“They seem to be moving well,” says Ravenshall’s Matt Gallagher of the apartments and duplexes in particular. “They are good, decent-sized units and there doesn’t seem to be a great problem there. “There are a couple of first-time buyers at around the 300k mark and a lot are ‘trader downers’. They don’t seem to have a big issue with finance.” Overall the Shankill development is indeed going very well for Ravenshall. Of course it’s a prime location and close to Dublin City with a lot going for it. “There is a huge pent up demand and not a huge amount of product and the fact that it is a very nice development is not hurting it at all,” says Matt. Woodbank is situated just 500m north of Shankill village and is surrounded by
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 25
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during the recession there were increases in the building regulations requirements. — Matt Gallagher. stunning scenery providing a wonderful backdrop to the development with Rathmichael and the old lead mines immediately west of the location.
This exceptional development of spacious, cleverly-designed homes is within walking distance of the coast with several beautiful walking routes to hand. There are numerous transport options available too. After the apartments and duplexes the houses start in the low €500ks. “There is no doubt they are extremely price sensitive there,” says Matt. “Here the purchasers are generally not first-time buyers but ‘trader uppers’. “If they have a bit of equity they can usually manage the deposit. However, they are running up against the multiple-ofsalaries rule,” explains Matt. “It is really putting them to the pin of their collar. “We have one couple who want to buy from us and who are renting at the moment and have the deposit but their problem is the multiple of the three-and-a-half times the combined salaries. They just can’t hack
“The sad thing is that they are paying more in rent now than they would be paying if they borrowed what they needed to buy from us. “I think it’s ridiculous that someone with a proven ability to pay that rent is not permitted to borrow sufficient funds.” Another issue occurs when first-time buyers cannot access funding to buy houses and the “trader-uppers” therefore cannot move – this affects the whole chain. A further issue that is affecting the business is building costs, says Matt. It has become very expensive to build. “All during the recession there were increases in the building regulations requirements,” adds Matt. “You had the BC(A)R regulations brought in – for very good reasons. But in my opinion they went over the top. “They brought in a system that is so complex. We had to employ an extra person to deal with the paperwork. That is a fact.”
As to the Housing Action Plan, Matt’s initial thoughts are of the need to begin working on this as soon as possible “if they want
production up”. “They will have to deal with bottlenecks in infrastructure and things like development levies,” says Matt. “If they don’t deal with them now it will take months before they can even start to meet their own targets – they will have to start very quickly. “Also, they have made a commitment to look at costs and they need to put a mechanism in place to examine costs including design issues that lead to costs. “There is a range of facilities that they insist must go into every house and every scheme. Can we not pick and choose a little in terms of sizes, for example? “Room sizes might have to be looked at – do we have to have disabled toilets in every single house? “We need flexibility. We are not talking about building substandard units – but building to a market or particular segment of the market. “It’s not that builders want to go back to bad old ways, they certainly don’t. “But they are conscious that they have to sell – and if they are not coming up with the right goods they won't sell. “One size fits all does not work.”
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 27
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Stephen McCarthy – Astra Construction. Currently building at: Forrest Hill, Carrigaline “For anyone who left the industry during the recession years and decided to come back now, they would find a totally different world awaiting them – compared with that which they left seven years ago.” Such is the observation of Stephen McCarthy of Astra Construction.
“The building regulations have changed completely,” says Stephen, whose company was one that managed to keep working throughout the downturn. “It is a new education process for everybody.” Astra is very busy at the current time, says Stephen. “We have a major site at the moment in Carrigaline. It’s called Forrest Hill and we are building 400 houses there, only 20 houses remain to be sold. “It’s going well for us and we and hope to finish there next year. “We are building three and four-bed semis and four and five bed detached houses at Forrest Hill. We will complete around 70 houses there this year. The site is located at the southern boundary of the town of Carrigaline and within walking distance of the centre.
With it’s picturesque setting, comprising tranquil walks, breath-taking scenery, stunning countryside views and all the convenience of local facilities as well as close proximity to a vibrant town, Forest Hill has all the essentials to make you feel at home. And there is no doubting that is an impressive development here with its network of housing clusters and quality open spaces on either side of a tree-lined primary avenue that is pedestrian and cycle friendly. It has also enjoyed great attention to design at various levels. Yet, overall, says Stephen, “there is a limited supply in Cork at the moment and that is really an issue. “The overall supply is appalling. “A number of small sites have been started in the last six or nine months in Cork, which is very encouraging, but we are starting from a very low base – we are still talking of only completing several hundred houses in metropolitan Cork this year.” As to what should happen, there is a series
of issues that need sorting, says Stephen, and there are “no easy solutions”. “One thing that has happened in recent times,” says Stephen, "is that, every year costs have been increased by new regulations but they want you to reduce prices. It beggars belief. “Meanwhile, I have taken on two extra people to cover paperwork alone. It is a whole bureaucratic process.” Meanwhile, the infrastructure issue has to be tackled, “there is a lot of land tied up with no services,” he notes. Reacting to the Action Plan, Stephen is optimistic about many aspects including the Housing Delivery office. For Stephen the Plan represents more joined-up thinking. “It might be aspirational but it’s a start,” he says. “We have to be optimistic – the intention is good this time.” C
I have taken on two extra people to cover paperwork alone – Stephen McCarthy.
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 29
HSS Hire opens new Super Centre in Cork The Tivoli Team with Branch Manager Niall Reddy
The HSS Hire Team Pictured at the Cork Branch Open Day with Robert Tobin, Regional Sales Manager for Cork; Michael Killeen, MD for HSS Hire and Laois Hire Group; GAA Star, Seán Óg Ó hAilpín; and Niall Reddy, Branch Manager of Tivoli Cork.
SS Hire, the award-winning tool and equipment Hire Company has opened its second depot in Cork. The new HSS Hire branch is centrally located on a 1.5 acre site at Fortwilliam, Tivoli, in Cork. It will offer ease of access, more choice and larger equipment. It will also incorporate training rooms offering a range of industry recognised technical and safety courses. The company will also retain its already well established branch at Kinsale Road in Cork as the company’s market share in the region continues to grow. Councillor Chris O’Leary, Lord Mayor of Cork City Council, says, “I am very pleased HSS Hire has chosen Cork as the location for its super centre. In addition to the very welcome additional employment, 10 jobs, this decision reinforces Cork as a major distribution centre, which is not surprising given its high quality connectivity through road, rail, shipping and telecommunications”. Robert Tobin, Regional Sales Manager for Cork, who is well experienced in the industry, especially in territory development, is delighted with the progress made. “We have already won some good local contracts and there is great potential to grow the business even further in this part of the country,” says Robert. HSS Hire Cork Now stocking specialist Powered Access and large Plant Machinery
“We are looking forward to a long and successful future here.” The new branch carries a wide range of equipment and tools, including specialist powered access, large plant machinery, generators up to 1250kVa, Reintec cleaning equipment, and the new HSS training division. As with all HSS Hire branches, the new facility is supported by an extensive fleet of liveried vehicles and underpinned by an industry-leading operating and distribution system. Customers also benefit from the expert workshop and refurbishment capabilities which are a feature of the HSS Hire network operations. The HSS Hire Group is currently focused on a programme of expansion in Ireland. With a new branch recently opened in Enniscorthy, and two other new branches recently opened in Northern Ireland – at Connswater in Belfast and in Portadown in County Armagh - and a further two branches due to open this year in Limerick and the Dublin Docklands. This adds to the HSS Hire and Laois Hire Group’s established network of 26 hire branches and super centres across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Michael Killeen, Managing Director of HSS Hire Ireland, Scotland and Isle of Man and the Laois Hire Group, says: “We’re committed to offering our customers more safety, more availability, more value and more support in order to ensure an unrivalled hire experience. The new branch in Tivoli will help us deliver the highest quality service to our customers.”
Keith Lowe - estate agent: Ireland does not have a normal operating property market yet DNG’s CEO this summer reflected on the Irish Property market for Construction.
ollowing the property crash, Dublin house prices and indeed transactions levels in the Capital were first to recover and very quickly a two-tier market developed – the first tier being Dublin and the second being the rest of Ireland.
Property prices were rising in Dublin for some time but were stagnant elsewhere with an extremely low level of housing transactions in areas outside the Capital. In some counties transaction levels were under 100 units in one year. However, it did not take too long until price recovery spread to the other main urban areas that have high populations and good employment levels such as Galway City and Cork City, albeit at a much slower rate of recovery than Dublin. The ripple effect of property recovery spread from Dublin to satellite towns and from the likes of Cork and Galway Cities to the county areas. Indeed, almost simultaneously other main cities and towns across the country began to benefit from increased sales and prices. Conversely, in 2014 the opposite occurred; with property prices outside Dublin rising by double digit growth, whilst in Dublin house prices more or less stagnated. It would appear that this year house prices in the Greater Dublin area will rise by around 5% but that prices outside the Capital are likely to rise by double digit growth again in many locations with the country areas outperforming the Capital. As property price and transaction level recovery outside Dublin took longer to occur it is now playing catch up on the Capital with price rises in the majority of locations coming from a very low base.
It is fair to say that the market in virtually all areas of Ireland has and is recovering,
which is very welcome; but property prices still remain 30% - 40% below their peak in 2006 and it will be some years yet before property prices fully recover. Where do you see the biggest gains happening this year? In Dublin, it is likely that house prices will increase the most in the entry to mid-price categories which are currently in the highest demand. Apartment prices generally are also likely to perform well with very few new apartments being constructed, as in many locations they are not economically viable due to the cost of building them still exceeding what they would sell for. Apartment prices in some areas of Dublin are still 50% below peak and well below their replacement value. In your opinion are we nearer a healthily functioning property market? Unfortunately, Ireland does not have a normal operating property market yet and may be some time off achieving it. Transaction numbers in Ireland still remain at under 3 per 1,000 population (DNG Research) which is well below our European neighbours. Irish transaction levels still trail those in Northern Ireland which does not have as large a population, employment, industry or GDP as southern Ireland. Current activity still also lags behind
Scotland and Wales which exceed our levels per capita by at least 25% which is surprising at this juncture of the market and proves that Ireland has some way to go.
Update: reacting to the Action Plan Keith Lowe says: “DNG welcomes the Action Plan which is very extensive and addresses many of the issues that prevail in the market. “The plan itself will ultimately lead to a significant increase in the supply of new homes in Ireland and hopefully much of the plan will be enacted. “Among other things, it will provide a significant boost / injection of funding which will significantly increase the number of Social Houses in the state, be it by acquisition or construction, which is much needed. “This plan is ambitious and if all five pillars are implemented it will assist in getting Ireland back building again but like all plans it is only as good as the people who are charged with its implementation and hopefully all departments of government and relevant parties will remain committed to fulfilling its objectives. “This is definitely a step in the right direction which will hopefully be supported by further measures in Budget 2017 which will further assist market recovery.” C
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 31
The challenges and complexities of having an overseas workforce O n any given Sunday, Ireland’s international airports see many construction and engineering workers coming through their doors. Many of these people are staff members of Irish-headquartered companies that are operating throughout Europe or further afield. This wealth of knowledge and expertise is helping construct some of the world’s biggest projects.
The movement of this skilled workforce must be managed correctly with companies paying attention to the complexities of having employees overseas, be it expats or local hires. HR, Finance and Payroll departments must navigate an unfamiliar landscape beset with challenges in taxation, payroll and compliance. The challenge of ensuring compliance with both domestic and international tax laws can lead to a rise in costs. Travel and subsistence are key areas to focus on.
The difference between paying an accommodation allowance to an employee as compared to paying the landlord directly can result in a tax difference of circa €20,000 per employee per annum. It’s worth checking out the tax position from both the home country perspective and the host country perspective to try to obtain the best result possible in both locations. In addition to travel and subsistence type arrangements, many countries have special expatriate regimes whereby, for example, a specified percentage of the employee's employment income may be relieved from tax. The Netherlands is one such country. Ireland, also has such a regime known as Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP). It is important to review such issues as early as possible as there may be a requirement to make an application for this relief within a specified period of time.
For employers operating tax equalisation policies, tax savings opportunities can often be worth almost twice what they seem.
34 CONSTRUCTION July/August 2016
If your company has staff working from foreign tax jurisdictions in a given year or relocating to a different jurisdiction for a period of time, ensuring compliancy with domestic and international tax laws is essential. Key considerations are as follows: • Tax and social security applications for both employees and employers in home and host country • Applications to authorities for exemptions or reductions in withholding taxes • Home and Host country personal tax returns for employees • Foreign payroll withholding obligations • Foreign Tax credit claims and treaty relief claims • Claims for income tax refunds • Cross Border relief claims • Tax equalisation/ tax protection calculations
This is due to the fact that the tax on an assignment benefit will most likely be paid by the employer. This tax in itself is treated as a taxable benefit meaning that there is a "tax on tax" effect. This is generally taken care of via gross up arrangements but can mean that the underlying tax cost of the provision of such a benefit could be as much as 100% rather than the 50% effective tax rate (i.e. the cost to the employer of providing such a benefit could be 220% of the initial benefit if we include also employer social security costs). If the benefit can be delivered in a more tax efficient way the savings are generally significant. Social Security cannot be ignored and if not carefully considered at the outset of each assignment can result in large costs. In general, an employee is only required to pay contributions in one jurisdiction but it is vitally important to ensure that the charges are being paid in the correct jurisdiction and that the relevant documentation is in place. If an employee's contributions are not in order they may run into difficulties down the line when they need to claim certain benefits (illness benefit, maternity benefit, unemployment benefit).
Fees and penalties
So what happens when companies don’t do their homework? It can result in an unpleasant bill. Failure to comply with the tax rules in a jurisdiction will result in the application of penalties and also interest on late payment of taxes. Mark Graham of The Taxback Group is of the opinion that to be forewarned is to be forearmed. “Penalties on their own can amount to as much as 100% of the actual tax charge and when combined with interest charges, employers can find themselves paying much more than they would have done if they had got the correct tax advice at the outset. “Many countries apply a daily interest charge, so it can mount up.” “If you’re sending staff abroad, it’s safer to assume that there will be a tax and social security issue to be considered and as an employer you will have obligations. “We recommend considering your tax position as soon as the decision is made to send staff on secondment. “However, if you’ve not done this before the assignment begins, you should do it sooner rather than later in order to minimise the final outlay.”
The Taxback Group has seen a marked increase in the number of global mobility enquiries they have received over the last 18 months. With Ireland’s construction and engineering companies continuing to expand and penetrate new markets, this trend looks set to continue." C
About The Taxback Group "Taxback’s unique setup makes it the go-to company for global mobility and International payroll services."Established in Ireland in 1996, the company has grown to encompass a global footprint of 33 offices in 23 counties. The Taxback Group team currently assists a number of Ireland’s leading construction and engineering companies with managing the tax requirements of their global workforce.
For further information and a free review of your existing position contact Mark Graham firstname.lastname@example.org or +353 87 738 5489
Project focus: GIY “Grow HQ”, Dunmore Road Waterford Tom O’Brien Construction Ltd. members of the South East Branch of the CIF are currently involved in a very interesting project in Waterford.
The design of the building will be sympathetic with the surrounding landscape.
ocated directly opposite University Hospital Waterford on a high profile site in the heart of Waterford City, will be the new GIY “Grow it yourself ” HQ. GIY is an emerging global movement – which started in Ireland – of up to 50,000 people who grow their own food. The project kicked off in December 2015. Due to open later in 2016, Grow HQ will be a National Food Education Centre and the home of the GIY Ireland movement. It will be an internationally significant model for food education. Grow HQ will be a home-grown food training centre, cookery school, café, shop and training gardens The building is a two storey structure and will be approximately 4,000 sq feet.
It will incorporate a reception area; training classrooms; a café and shop; kitchen; office space; changing facilities; storage; roof garden; circulation and plant space. The external works include provision of
working gardens; landscaping; car parking; paved areas; entrance gates; planting; site
The project includes:
• GROW/COOK Training Rooms • 60 Seat GIY Homegrown & Local Food Café with terrace • GIY Home-Farm Shop • Working kitchen, training and demo gardens • Fruit orchard with heritage varieties • Wild meadow space, wildlife habitat and pond • Native hedgerow and woodland forage • The GIY Greenhouse • Composting Zone • Children’s Grow/Play space • 40 space car park
“We will be aiming for passive standard construction, and to incorporate as many sustainable features as possible to minimise the carbon footprint of Grow HQ and reduce ongoing energy requirements,” Construction is told. “The design of the building will be sympathetic with the surrounding landscape.” GIY selected the design and construction team following a 3-month evaluation and selection process. The winning team is made up of some of Ireland’s leading architectural, design, landscape, construction and engineering firms, with many of the team members coming from Waterford.
Established in 1972, Tom O’Brien Construction has evolved from its early concentration on the housing/residential sector to become one of the South East’s most respected contractors in the Education, Healthcare and Commercial sectors. Its area of operation has expanded beyond Waterford, to encompass Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kilkenny, Laois, Wexford and Wicklow. C If you're interested in having a project featured in Construction contact: comms@ cif.ie.
structures and site fencing. The building is being designed by Solearth Ecological Architecture. It will be constructed on ecological principles and “serve as a practical example of environmentally sound building design and sustainable development”.
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Rhona Henry is head of Matheson’s Construction and Engineering Group. In this issue she poses a simple question that is sure to be of interest… When does time start to run in the case of a construction claim? What the Irish Courts say.
ost stakeholders in the construction industry know their way around the Statute of Limitations 1957 in the context of time triggers for construction claims. But what does the Statute actually mean when applied to the facts of a construction dispute? A recent Court of Appeal decision explains this to the industry.
The plaintiffs initiated proceedings against the defendants in respect of losses arising from the defendants’ work at two properties at Williamstown, Co. Galway. In particular, the plaintiffs sought to recover damages from the defendants in contract and in tort arising from the defendants’ pouring, inspecting and certifying of the properties’ defective raft foundations. The First Defendant was the supervising consulting engineer and had certified the foundations’ compliance with planning permission and building standards. The Second Defendant was the groundworks contractor and had completed the properties’ foundations.
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it is clear proof of loss is a necessary element in order for a right of action for simple negligence to accrue.
The Statute and Relevant Dates
First, let us remind ourselves of the provisions of the Statute, section 11, which provides for the following time limit in respect of claims:
Type of Claim
Claim founded in tort – eg, an action in negligence
Statutory Limitation Period
Six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued
The question before the High Court was when did the plaintiffs’ cause of action in negligence accrue? The plaintiffs pleaded their claim accrued in December 2005, when cracks in the foundations appeared. The defendants, on the other hand, pleaded the plaintiffs’ claim accrued in March 2004, when the foundations were completed, and was, therefore, “statute barred”.
legal view The following is a summary of the relevant dates in this case, together with the application of the Statute’s provisions to those dates (where relevant):
Section 11 “cut off”
Issue of certificate of compliance for foundations with planning permission and building regulations
4 September 2004
3 September 2010
Completion of foundations
Jan / Feb 2005
Jan / Feb 2011
Defects in foundations first observed by Plaintiffs
Plenary summons issued
30 November 2010
The defendants claimed the time limit of six-years for the plaintiffs to initiate proceedings had already passed by the time proceedings were initiated in November 2010. The High Court agreed with the defendants and decided that time began to run for the purposes of section 11 when the foundations were completed (i.e., in March 2004). The plaintiffs appealed this decision before the Court of Appeal.
Issue Before the Court of Appeal
The issue before the Court of Appeal was, therefore, when did the plaintiffs’ cause of action accrue? The essence of the plaintiffs’ argument was that, although the foundations’ negligent installation and subsequent certification were outside the six-year limitation period, the damage caused as a result occurred within the six-year period. The crux of the defendants’ argument was that, even if they were respectively in breach of contract and / or negligent in pouring, inspecting and certifying the foundations, the cause of action occurred either at the time the foundations were completed or at the time the certificates of compliance issued (as to which it did not matter as each cause of action was outside the six-year limitation period).
could not prove any loss or damage resulted then. President Ryan cited with approval the Supreme Court decision in Hegarty v O’Loughran,  1 IR 148, where Finlay CJ stated “[a] cause of action in tort has not accrued until at least such time as the two necessary component parts of the tort have occured, namely, the wrong and the damage”. On the evidence, President Ryan decided the defective foundations did not cause the plaintiffs damage until December 2005. He rejected the defendants’ argument there was “hidden” damage in either March or September 2004, which became discoverable only at a later point. In either March or September 2004, the only complaint the plaintiffs could have had, according to President Ryan, was that the foundations were defective. President Ryan also observed that it would have been open to the Second Defendant, as contractor, or the First Defendant, as consulting engineer, to have subsequently discovered or decided to investigate the foundations’ condition. This could have entitled either defendant to put right any defects they identified and, if this were so, the plaintiffs would have had no right of action as a result. President Ryan held for the plaintiffs, therefore, and remitted the case to the High Court where, in view of the defendants’ express admissions regarding their negligence, the case could proceed as an assessment of damages in favour of the plaintiffs.
So, what can we learn from this case? First, it is clear proof of loss is a necessary element in order for a right of action for simple negligence to accrue. In addition, the test of discoverability is not relevant in this context and is, therefore, confined to actions in contract and / or tort for damages as a result of personal injury. Most notably, we can see that the sixyear statutory limitation period needs to be analysed on a case-by-case basis as to when it starts to run and contractors and consultants should note this in the context of their business and liability / insurance generally. C
Court of Appeal Decision
President Ryan reminded the parties that simple negligence (ie, negligence without the accompaniment of loss or damage) is not actionable. When the defective foundations were installed in March 2004, the plaintiffs
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The one thing you MUST know about the Construction Contracts Act The Construction Contracts Act will apply to all contracts entered into after 25 July 2016. Anthony Hussey of Hussey Fraser Solicitors has some important and helpful observations for members.
he Construction Contracts Act contains a number of provisions relating to payment entitlements and a number of provisions relating to adjudication. Although much of the debate relates to adjudication, it is the payment provisions that should be of primary concern, particularly at the outset, writes Anthony Hussey. The Act divides the construction world in two – you are either an “executing party” or an “other party”. An executing party is the party doing the work the subject matter of the contract. The other party is the paying party who may therefore be an employer, a main contractor or a sub-contractor who engages a sub-sub-contractor.
There are a number of measures of which the other party needs to be aware. The most important of these arises out of Section 4. Failure to respond as required by Section 4 could result in the paying party having to pay the full
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CIF Director, Main Contracting, Martin Lang with Anthony Hussey amount claimed by the executing party no matter how outrageous the claim. Section 3 of the Act sets out how a payment claim is to be made by the executing party. Provided the payment claim meets the requirements of the Act, the executing party is entitled to payment. If the paying party disputes the amount of the claim he must, within twenty-one days of the “payment claim date” respond to the claim as required by the Act. Subsection 4(3) says:“If the other party……….contests that the amount is due and payable then the other party………shall deliver a response……….not later than 21 days after the payment claim date……”. So what is the position if the other party does not respond within twenty-one days? There are two schools of thought on this. The consequence in every other part of the world where similar legislation applies is that the other party must pay
the amount claimed and, if the dispute is referred to adjudication, the adjudicator has no choice but to make a decision to that effect. Some argue that this will also be the position in Ireland because failure to respond indicates that the party does not intend to contest the amount claimed and therefore, by extension, the amount claimed is due. The other view is that the Claimant is still only entitled to be paid what is “due” under the contract i.e. the value of the work done and the failure to contest does not convert what is due into what is claimed. Even if that interpretation is correct, the other party who fails to respond within the twenty-one days will not be entitled to raise any contra-charges against the amount claimed and will not be able to contest any certificate if the amount claimed is based on a certificate.
The problem for the other party i.e. the paying party, is that he may not recognise
construction contracts act
The Act provides for service “by post or by any other effective means”
that the payment claim is a payment claim notice given under the Act. There is no need to state in the payment claim notice that it is a notice given under the Act or even to label it as a payment claim notice. Therefore, what appears to be a standard monthly application may be a payment claim notice. The executing party may not avail of its rights under the Act as the works proceed and thereby lull the other party into a false sense of security. The executing party may apply for payment every month and then negotiate a reduction with the other party in the traditional manner. However, when it comes to the end, or close to the end of the works, he may put in a very substantial claim and then wait and see if he gets a response within twenty-one days. If he gets no response within that period, he is then entitled to payment and is in a very strong position to enforce payment through adjudication if necessary. In the UK a claimant in these circumstances is entitled to payment in full of the amount claimed, notwithstanding that the claim might be grossly exaggerated. Adjudicators are obliged to uphold the entitlement with the effect that the process has become known as “smash and grab” adjudications. If you wish to avoid being the victim of a smash and grab adjudication, you must always respond to the claim within twentyone days of the payment claim date. Beware, the twenty-one days runs from the payment claim date and not from the day that the payment claim is actually made.
Under Section 4(1) a claim is to be made not later than five days after the payment claim date. Therefore if the claim is made on the fifth day, the paying party has sixteen days to respond and not twentyone. If he responds on the seventeenth day, the response will be invalid and will count for nothing.
Payment Claim Notices
The Act sets out what must be included in a payment claim notice. It must specify: (a) The amount claimed (b) The period, stage of work or activity to which the payment claim relates (c) The subject matter of the payment claim; and, (d) The basis of the calculation of the amount claimed The notice does not have to be in any particular form and exact compliance with these requirements is unlikely to invalidate the notice. Provided the paying party is in a position to understand the basis of the claim and the manner in which it is calculated to the extent of being in a position to respond comprehensively to it, it is likely the adjudicator will uphold the validity of the payment claim notice.
Content of the Response
Section 4(3) sets out what the paying party must do if he wishes to dispute the claim and avoid enforcement of it. The paying party must set out in its response: (i) The amount proposed to be paid (ii) The reason or reasons for the difference between the amount in the payment claim notice and the amount proposed to be paid (iii) The basis on which the amount to be paid is calculated
Furthermore if the paying party is proposing to make any deduction by reason of any breach on the part of the executing party, the responding party must in the same document specify:
(a) When the loss was incurred or the damage occurred or how the claim relied upon arose (b) The particulars of the loss, damage or claim (c) The portion of the difference between the amount claimed and the amount proposed to be paid that is attributable to such loss, damage or claim
Again the response does not have to be in any particular form and does not have to be labelled in any particular way. Notices however must be served in accordance with the Act or in accordance with any specific provisions in the contract. The Act provides for service “by post or by any other effective means”. However, the specific provisions of the contract trump the requirements of the legislation. Therefore a paying party is in a position to protect itself by insisting that notice be served in a manner which will alert the paying party to the fact that the notice is intended as a payment claim notice. For instance, the paying party (who would normally prepare the contract) could require that payment claim notices be served by registered post and alert its staff how to respond to a notice received by that means. Paying parties, whether they be contractors or sub-contractors who engage sub-sub-contractors need in any event to alert their staff to respond within sixteen days to any payment claim received in accordance with the provisions of Section 4(3) as set out above. C Contact Anthony Hussey at www.husseyfraser.com
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Are your pension savings adequate? CPAS exhibited at the recent Construction Summit at the RDS in Dublin and Paula Thornton, a pension consultant at CPAS, gave a presentation in the Financial seminar area, the title – “Are your pension savings adequate?”
aula Thornton’s presentation at the recent Construction Summit got straight to the heart of the matter. Thornton, who works as a pension consultant for CPAS, took the audience through why we should save for retirement. She started with some good news: we are all living longer. “Currently, our members that reach age 65 can now expect to live for a further 20 years,” was the message. In fact, those in the actuarial world would say that the first person to live to 150 has already been born – we may even know them!
A phrase that has been heard of late, noted Paula Thornton, is that the fear of dying has been replaced by the fear of living too long and outliving our savings! Regardless how long we live, we have the state pension and currently for a single person with a full PRSI record, that will provide a weekly income of €233.30. This will replace part of one’s preretirement income but for most, it will mean a significant drop in their standard of living, pointed out Paula. Another fear is around the number of workers that will be around to fund the state pension when we retire. At the moment, there are five workers for every retired person. However, by 2050, it is estimated that the number of people working will be reduced to two for every retired person. “I think this clearly demonstrates that this level of state pension is unsustainable,” Paula Thornton said. “The choices for government are to increase the state pension age again, increase PRSI to fund the liability in advance or reduce the state benefit. “None of these options will be popular with the electorate. “That takes us nicely on to the state
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pension funding deficit – €440bn. “Included in this €440bn figure is the cost of state pensions and the public sector pensions which are all currently funded on a pay-as-you-go basis. “Don’t forget, we did have a pension reserve fund but this is well spent.”
Despite all the issues around the state pension, the amount of people who have a plan in place to save for their retirement is lower than 50% of the population and more worrying, Paula Thornton this percentage is reducing. As Paula Thornton explained, providing a guaranteed pension in retirement is expensive. “We are living longer but also, with a low interest rate environment, bond yields are low, making pensions expensive. “To demonstrate this, when I started working in pensions, it would have cost approximately €9 to buy €1 of pension. “This is now closer to €25 for every €1 pension and even higher if you want to provide fancy indexation, high spouse’s benefit etc.”
One of Paula’s slides condensed the results of the recent CSO household survey which was published at the end of May. In 2015, the percentage of the population that were members of a pension scheme had dropped from 51% in
2009 to 47.1% in 2015. Paula Thornton then focused solely on the statistics for the construction sector. The good news was that CPAS, as pension providers to the construction sector, had seen an increase in the amount of pension coverage in recent months. However, an overall decline from 2009 – when 44% of employees in the construction sector were in a pension scheme, to 2015 – when only 34% were covered, is worrying. While we can attribute a lot of this to the general decline in the industry some may also be down to a reduction in direct employees and potentially a higher portion of the industry being self-employed and so a lower emphasis on pension savings. “When you haven’t got an employer paying in for your pension, there is less motivation to save on your own,” Paula Thornton noted.
pensions feature Damien Starken, CERS, middle, Juraj, Szabo, CWPS, right, speak to a visitor.
A busy CPAS stand.
The useful thing about pension savings is that it can be done through payroll deduction and so when you get used to the net income, it means that you then have to live within your means that month. Little changes can lead to big results in savings over the long-term. Also, what an employee needs to ask themselves is: “can I afford to live on the state pension?” If the answer is NO, then they need to save, was the message. Said Paula: “For those that haven’t got around to it yet, there is definitely a need for the pension industry to simplify the pension message and engage better with employees – before and after they start in a pension. “We need to also dispel some of the myths
CPAS, as pension providers to the construction sector, had seen an increase in the amount of pension coverage in the recent months.
around people losing all their money - or the other common thread I hear regularly, ‘sure I won’t live long enough to collect it!’ “The vast majority of the population will live to retirement age and for the small handful that don’t, those pension savings can be paid to their families. “Maybe the incentives should be explained better.” “For those of us that work in the industry, we are familiar with the concept of risk and reward and pensions as a long-term investment can afford to take some investment risk in order to achieve growth. “We all remember the bad years – it’s human nature. We need to shout a little louder about the good years. “For example, the S&P has returned 5.3% per annum above inflation for the last 10
years. “This includes one year at minus 37%! “We all remember the big losses in 2008, but there’s not as much written about one of the longest bull runs that followed where markets recovered all of these losses. “If we look at 50 years, and for anyone saving for retirement this is the possible saving period, the real rate of return each year was 5.4% above inflation.” So why would you save in a pension? “Tax Relief on your contributions, tax-free growth on your savings, a tax-free lump sum at retirement, flexible retirement options and the alternative of living on €233.30 per week.” And at the end of the day pensions are also a tax-efficient way for employers to reward employees and can help attract and retain key staff. C
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Sisk man elected to Board of Trustees - CIOB Senior Contracts Manager with Sisk Ivan McCarthy has been elected to the Board of Trustees of the CIOB following a ballot of Corporate Members. He speaks here with Martin Foran.
van McCarthy has had a distinguished involvement with the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) having previously chaired the CIOB in Ireland and the CIOB’s UK and Ireland group. Recently Ivan has been elected to the Board of Trustees in what is being hailed as a tremendous achievement. There is no doubt that it represents a major success for the Sisk Senior Contracts Manager. A quick glance at the organisation of which McCarthy now becomes a Trustee shows there are 45,000 members of the CIOB worldwide – around 3,000 of these in Ireland. There are sixteen members on the Board of Trustees which McCarthy has now become part of. As such, his new role will include – among other duties – involvement in the strategic steering of the Institute. “As part of the Board I have a number of duties,” says Ivan McCarthy, “these include directing the affairs of the Institute and ensuring that its objectives are delivered, setting policy and driving initiatives and operational budget oversight as well as being legally responsible for the Institute.” Part of the work also involves promoting the role and developing the profile of Chartered Construction Managers in general. “We are unique as an organisation in that we have people who have come from both trade and academic backgrounds to membership,” says Ivan. “We are all managers. That is the common thread. “The CIOB is a professional body for construction managers and if you have membership or fellowship you can call
yourself a Chartered Construction Manager. “It is an Institute for Construction Management.”
Newly conferred Members and Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Building gathered at the historic Mansion House in Dawson Street, Dublin to receive their honours.
As for his own career with Sisk, McCarthy joined soon after college in Bolton Street and has remained at the company for twenty-eight years. During his time with the organisation he has worked on a number of high profile developments including many iconic retail destinations as well as being part of the senior management team for the Convention Centre in Dublin. Throughout he has been involved with the CIOB and speaks highly of the people involved in the local branch network here in Ireland who work hard to deliver in areas like CPD and networking events for both members and the industry at large. “For example, for the last number of years we have run conferences in Galway and Waterford to highlight International Construction Management day,” Ivan explains.
“We also run the Construction Manager of The Year Awards, a bi-annual event which commenced in 1993. “Last year was the last time out for this event when the winner was Ronan Moore from Gem/Purcell for his management of the St Mel’s Cathedral Project in Longford. “The next CMYA awards will be in 2017. “In addition we have recently run a number of CPD events in connection with BC(A)R and we have an upcoming 2-day course on understanding level 2 BIM. “We are currently trying to change our focus as regards engagement to see how we deliver more to our members” Ivan relates. For people who are interested in membership: “We also hold roadshows
newly conferred Members and Fellows Pictured are the graduates: Fellow: Michael Gallagher; Members: Diarmaid Carroll; Philip Cully; Patrick Duffy; Claire Flanagan; Derek Gillespie; Leanne Maria Gribben; David Hill; Barry Keenan; Paul Kennedy; Igor Martinis; Stephen McGinn; Joseph McNamara; Bernadette Moloney; Johnathan Nea; Gregory Wilson. Also pictured are Bridget Bartlett, Deputy Chief Executive of the CIOB, Pat Quearney, Immediate past Chairperson of the Eastern Centre of the CIOB in Ireland; Ivan McCarthy, Immediate past Chairperson of the CIOB in Ireland and newly elected to the Board of Trustees, CIOB (see main article); Dublin City Councillor Ruairi McGinley, representing the Lord Mayor of Dublin. and explain about how to become a member and how to apply. “All in all, we have a lot of great members involved who are active in promoting the Institute and delivering for the members.” Looking back at his recent election, McCarthy says the process was quite onerous involving two initial rounds before even being placed on the ballot. Initially there were around 30 applicants and just six went on the ballot. Only two were elected. Clearly, to even get as far as the ballot stage was a major achievement. Many of the candidates were extremely high profile. “I was delighted at getting to the ballot stage,” says Ivan. “And then I was completely stunned and delighted to be elected!” What lies ahead now is a three-year period, beginning this summer. And Ivan is clearly relishing the challenge. C
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Inaugural Winthrop Energy Award at WIT year students from the BEng (Hons) in Sustainable Energy Engineering programme. They were each asked to prepare and present posters on their dissertation topics. Gary Widger, project manager from Winthrop, along with academic staff, Tom O’Brien; Tomas O’Donoghue and Colm Tynan from WIT adjudicated on the day. Gary, who himself graduated from the Building Services Engineering programme at WIT, complemented the students on the quality of their posters and confidence they displayed in the presentations. From Left: Ryan McKenna, Engineering student WIT; Managing Director, Ger O’Leary and Tony McDonnell, Engineering student WIT; Nelson Paz, Engineering student and Winthrop-sponsored second HR Manager Enda Cullen of Winthrop Engineering were also present for the place award winner; Stuart Murphy, Engineering awards. student and Winthrop-sponsored first place winner; While addressing the attendees, Ger David Connolly, Engineering student; Tom O’Brien O’Leary emphasised the importance of this Lecturer WIT; Colm Tynan, Programme Leader, partnership with WIT. Sustainable Energy Engineering, WIT; Ger O’ Leary, “Winthrop Engineering, as a leading Managing Director of Winthrop Engineering; Gary provider of Mechanical and Electrical Widger, Project Manager Winthrop Engineering services, is delighted to recognise graduate excellence in WIT,” said the MD. tuart Murphy has become the first He continued: “Highly skilled local winner of the inaugural Winthrop graduates are essential to Winthrop’s Energy Award at WIT. Stuart, from successful offering to its many clients in Tramore, Co. Waterford won the award the Pharma; Med Tech and Advanced for his poster presentation based on Manufacturing sectors, and to the his dissertation on, “The Feasibility of Mechanical and Electrical sector in general. Upgrading a Small-Scale Hydro System in “Winthrop Engineering looks forward Ireland”. to offering further opportunities to WIT Nelson Paz, from Piltown, Co. Kilkenny, graduates to meet the talent requirements of won second place for his poster presentation its growing business.” on “Energy Performance Analysis using Colm Tynan, Programme Leader for the Revit and IES VE”. Sustainable Energy Engineering course, The competition was open to final
emphasised the importance of having Winthrop Engineering, such a reputable company from the south east region, associated with the course. “Winthrop offers our graduates fantastic career opportunities. They are a local company and benefit the local community. “They have recruited many of our graduates in recent years and also take students on work placement each year.” Colm also thanked Winthrop for their generous sponsorship of the study tour to Edinburgh during semester 1. The BEng(Hons) programme in Sustainable Energy Engineering has been running in WIT since 2010. The programme focuses on Energy Systems in Buildings, their design, installation, operation and control. It has BIM (Building Information Modeling) and Energy Simulation integrated into all years of the programme. Graduates are in high demand and are actively recruited by Ireland’s leading Engineering Design consultants and Mechanical and Electrical contractors and by Energy Management and Facilities Management companies. The programme offers fantastic career opportunities to work both in Ireland and abroad within the exciting field of energy engineering. Further information on the programme can be found at www.wit.ie/wd171 or by contacting Colm Tynan at email@example.com
Key staff of the future – planning for engagement In December 2015 the CIF’s Sean Downey, Director of Specialist Contracting, set up a joint action group between the M&ECA members and the Institutes of Technology that were interested in and / or currently running Building Services courses. It was a positive initiative with strong engagement from some leading M&E companies. Winthrop Engineering has continued to play a proactive part in this drive – as it seeks to engage at a variety of levels, with prospective staff members, and with its wider local community and beyond. Martin Foran reports. 44 CONSTRUCTION July/August 2016
From Left: Ger O’Leary, Managing Director of Winthrop Engineering; Gary Widger, Project Manager at Winthrop Waterford; Nelson Paz, Piltown, Co. Kilkenny, second place winner of Winthrop Energy Engineering Award at WIT; Colm Tynan, Programme Leader, Sustainable Energy Engineering, WIT; Derek Sinnott, HOD of Built Environment at WIT
engaging with talent
raduates are the lifeblood of the industry,” says Enda Cullen, HR Development Manager with Winthrop Engineering. “Our business is growing and there is a potentially serious bottle neck if we don’t get enough people. However, one way of addressing this is through closer working relationships.” In HR terms it’s all about ensuring a secure talent ‘pipeline’ – and it means proactive engagement, both with potential future staff members and their education providers. This is not just confined to the average twenty-one and twenty-two-year-old graduate, sitting their final exams however. It is essential to continuously engage at several different levels and points in their education – and afterwards. Connecting with people in this way is essential – at different levels, simultaneously – prior to, during and, after college. This is the realisation of companies like Winthrop, where Enda Cullen is just one of those who has been actively pursuing such lines of connection and communication. It is all about what Enda – who is on the Manpower Committee of the CIF – calls: “the practical application of building linkages” and works on many levels, formal and informal.
Winthrop, which Enda describes as “a very progressive company” has a distinct “people strategy”. “We would like to see it as differentiating us from some of our competitors,” says Enda. “As part of that people strategy we want to enhance this ‘pipeline’ of talent. “In enhancing the talent pipeline, we need to proactively engage with the people who would supply talent – for example, WIT, in our case. “We see them not just as producing oldfashioned graduates but offering secondchance education too, for those who are maybe more mature students.” Again, put simply, the focus is broad and not solely on those twenty-two-year-old graduates. “I was talking to someone recently who started as a bricklayer and ended up with a First-Class Honours degree in Engineering,” says Enda, by way of example of the options for progression that now exist. The message would appear to be that talent can come from a number of sources and while it is important to look at traditional sources, creative organisations will realise that there are other avenues which should not be overlooked. “There is the traditional graduate and the
‘second chance’ people,” says Enda. “That route is more and more available nowadays and employers and courses are facilitating people in many cases. “If you are an electrician you can go into second year in an engineering course,” says Enda. “People forget that by getting an apprenticeship now they are still leaving the door open for college. “There are progression options available. We need to encourage more of this.” Meanwhile, the arrival of more of the ‘older’ graduates into the workplace is often as a result of the downturn and of people in trades having lost their jobs and returning to study. The message again would appear to be that the approach cannot be “one-size-fitsall”.
A central point will still be the education providers, of course. A lot of the work that Enda is involved in includes meeting educators at different levels – exchanging views and explaining to them the needs of industry whilst hearing about their challenges when it comes to attracting people into courses at third level. Again however, this goes beyond what would have once been the norm and requires a greater degree of proactivity. Work also involves speaking to second level students and guidance counsellors too. In the CIF meanwhile there have been meetings with the I.T.s. “We went through the practical problems that we and they are having,” says Enda. “We are not going to solve this except by getting together.” One of the decisions made by Winthop was to act as a sponsor for a Student Award in WIT and to make funds available for a study tour also. “We give a prize to two students,” says Enda. “It is all about encouraging students
to aim high and is also an option for us to engage further with students. “We are trying to get the message out that there are opportunities in construction and engineering – and good ones too.”
Continuous learning is another major factor: “We have a number of people in our company who have done further courses,” says Enda. “We recognise the importance of CPD amongst staff members and we see that WIT and others can assist us. “There is a recognition that CPD and continuous learning is just as important in the construction sector as in others. “That is good for everyone – the consumer as well – as it provides standards that are higher ultimately. It benefits industry, companies and individuals. “Meanwhile, WIT, as well as producing graduates, also has refocused its offering to support us by offering more shorter-term courses that are focussed on our needs. “There is a Lean initiative in WIT and they also have a BIM research facility there. “They are two things we are very interested in developing as core competencies for our business.” Looking forward, the cooperation between Winthrop and WIT continues in other areas too. They have both consulted on the content for the proposed M & E Surveying Certificate Programme proposed for September 2016. This reflects the close relationships between both organisations. Regionally, Winthrop Engineering also participated recently in the ‘Think Waterford Showcase’ which highlighted Engineering jobs and careers in the region. Where Winthrop is concerned, the net is being cast far and wide and this would seem to be the message. Such a progressive outlook will surely pay dividends. C
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 45
In the aftermath of the Brexit vote In this issue Susan O’Mara considers the uncertainty that has accompanied the Brexit vote in the UK. As she notes, markets just don’t like uncertainty. However, as usual, she has some useful tips for investing.
It is easier to invest when you have a clear goal that takes specifically into account your investment timeframe.
n the wake of Brexit, one thing is certain and that is that nothing is certain. Markets do not like uncertainty. There is a huge amount of uncertainty surrounding the political and economic outcomes of the Brexit vote. Over the coming months, as we learn more about the process of the UK exiting the EU and the related political outcomes, we should be able to get a better view of the long-term economic effects. But for now, we should expect increased volatility as market participants gather and interpret any new information. Here are a few tips for investing during this period of uncertainty.
Define your investment goals
It is easier to invest when you have a clear goal that takes specifically into account your investment timeframe. For example, if it is your retirement fund, your primary goal is to accumulate enough savings to create the income you need in retirement. In this regard, your investment timeframe will be determined by the number of years left until you plan to retire and whether you plan to purchase an annuity or invest in an Approved Retirement Fund.
Define your Investment Risk Profile
Even if your timeframe is long enough to warrant a high or medium-high portfolio, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with the short-term ups and downs you will likely encounter. If watching your fund balance fluctuate is too nerve-racking for you, think about a portfolio that feels right and set realistic expectations. Conversely, if you are at ease with a high risk portfolio, but you are a year away from purchasing an annuity, you might want to reconsider your investment strategy or your
Don’t try to time the market
It is impossible to consistently predict the market; even the experts can’t do this. Many investors believe that they can guess what will happen, based on pure speculation and perhaps the media. However, unless you know precisely when to switch in and out of funds you will most likely miss the market. This can really cost you. Most of the market’s gains occur in just a few strong, but unpredictable, trading days. To benefit from the market’s long-term performance, you need to be in the market on those days. This means you have to invest for the long run and stick with it throughout the market’s ups and downs. As long as it is within your timeframe, that is.
As an investor, you may be invested in a handful of stocks or you may be invested in a fund which holds a certain number of stocks. One way to help protect yourself from market downturns is to be invested in various asset classes. Using the retirement saver as an example, most schemes will offer a range of investment funds. Consider investing in a fund that, at a minimum, spreads your investment across the three main asset classes—stocks, bonds, and cash. Be aware also that, nowadays, a good provider should have funds offering even broader diversification by adding property and other alternative assets into the mix. Diversification won’t ensure a profit or guarantee against loss. But it will ensure you are not overly exposed to one specific risk and can reduce the potential downside of a volatile investment market. C
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 47
How to use drones – what you need to know Drones are clearly proving beneficial on construction projects, particularly for surveying, mapping, inspection and aerial photography. With the right expertise and management, they can be integrated into your day-to-day operations. As a follow-up to his well-received feature in our last issue, John Wright has prepared an essential checklist.
rones are undoubtedly useful, but they certainly aren’t toys. On the jobsite, they are industrial machines that require professionalism, care and common sense to operate. Of course, there are practices that can improve safe operations, administrative efficiency and data quality. We can categorize these best practices into five groups: 1. Knowing the Law 2. Experience and Training 3. Preparation 4. Operation 5. Precautions
Knowing the Law
Flying drones professionally is strictly regulated by the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA). Some of the key requirements are that: • The operator must be licensed by the IAA • Operators should have suitable insurance • Visual line of sight must be maintained by the operator on the aircraft • Aircraft must always be within 500m of the operator • Aircraft must not be operated more than 120m above ground level • The aircraft can only be operated in congested areas with special permission from the IAA • Aircraft must not be operated within 150m of third parties on the ground • To fly in ‘controlled airspace’ special permission is needed from the IAA
Operator – experience and training
• Know the different laws and regulations that apply! • Have properly trained operators, with the right equipment • Have experience prior to flying in public • Practice, practice. Gain sufficient experience flying drones in open areas and
become familiar with all aspects of the drone and controls before taking to a jobsite • Be experienced in the software needed to edit or process the images
• Use preset flight plans and controls for consistency • Survey area prior to flights and search for nearby airports to ensure safe operations • Always conduct a pre-flight checklist, including battery levels on all accessories, cameras and drone • Carry a spares kit, including batteries • Plan and follow your flight path • Make sure site owner and on-site personnel know and approve of drone’s use • Know exactly what needs to be photographed • Plan your time on site carefully to avoid causing delays • Check for proper operation of the drone and all accessories before flight • Perform a low altitude pre-flight (around 5 feet above ground surface) to ensure all functions are fully operable
• Operate within all the required aviation regulations • Use two people. One for flying the drone and a separate safety advisor/ spotter to monitor • Safety first - never compromise! Use recommended safety procedures and safety equipment • Do not operate out of line of sight • Operate within an acceptable recovery range • Use during non-peak hours wherever
possible • Go slow • Be aware of surroundings • Make sure to keep and file detailed flight logs to review later if necessary
• Minimise the public contact as much as possible • Be courteous and limit photography to your jobsite • Ensure proper risk/insurance coverage • Protect workers • Always coordinate with businesses, residences or facilities in the surrounding areas • Put LED lights on drone for spotting, awareness and safety precautions • Avoid flights with a lot of people present and understand realities with battery life • Expect a crash sooner or later • Waterproof your drone • Ensure software compatibility for sophisticated data processing C See www.mydrone.ie or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 49
Planning Contribution Refunds – the law by Tadgh Kelly Tadgh Kelly
Supplementary Development Contribution Scheme Refunds. The most recent and publicised example of the above scenario was the abandonment of the original plan for the Metro North rail line from St. Stephen’s Green to Swords via Dublin Airport but not before almost €20m was collected in development levies by Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council. Levies were paid by residential and commercial developers under a supplementary development contribution scheme established under Section 49 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (the 2000 Act). This allows a planning authority to attach a condition to a planning permission requiring the payment of a financial contribution for a development that will benefit from a particular piece of infrastructure. A public infrastructure service or project is defined in Section 49 (7) to include the “provision of particular rail, light rail or other public transport infrastructure...” The newly revised Metro North plans follow a very similar route to the original proposal but with fewer stations and
50 CONSTRUCTION July/August 2016
As developers will be aware, development levies or planning contributions are paid to a local authority where a particular development stands to benefit from a particular piece of infrastructure or public facility. But what if the infrastructural project never materialises or is only partially completed? Can developers pursue the local authority for a refund and what are the chances of success? Tadgh Kelly, of Pearts Solicitors, outlines the law in this area and the multiple avenues that can be used to pursue refund claims of development levies.
reduced length of tunnelling. As a result of such changes and what is termed the substantially different time frame for completion, the new line is now not expected to be completed until 2026/2027, the National Transport Authority (NTA) informed Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council to refund developers the monies collected by way of planning contributions pursuant to the associated supplementary development contribution schemes. In light of the above decision of the NTA, it is now advisable for developers, not just in Dublin but on a countrywide basis, to verify if any planning contributions were paid over to the local authority on foot of a Section 49 supplementary development contribution scheme. If it transpires that monies have been paid into such a scheme and if it is found that the planned project the subject of the scheme has not taken place, has commenced but is only partially completed or as per the above example of Metro north, has been altered to a substantial degree, then a statable argument may be made for a refund.
Special Development Contributions Refunds. A special development contribution scheme requiring the payment of special contributions may be established under Section 48(2)(c) of the 2000 Act. These schemes are intended for use where exceptional costs not covered by the general contribution scheme are incurred by a local authority in the provision of a specific public infrastructure or facility. The special condition in the grant of planning must specify the particular works carried out, or proposed to be carried out to which the contribution relates. Only developments that will benefit from the public infrastructure or facility in question should be liable to pay the levy. Unlike Section 49 contribution schemes, special contributions must be refunded to developers if the works in question are not commenced within 5 years, or completed within 7 years of the receipt of payment. Again, where the authority decides not to proceed with the proposed works or part of works, the applicant should be refunded the special contribution levy. This refund should be in proportion to the work not carried out and include any
PLANNING CONTRIBUTION REFUNDS
interest accrued over the period while held by the local authority. Section 26 of the 1963 Planning and Development Act Refunds. Section 26 of the 1963 Planning and Development Act (the 1963 Act) is the statutory basis upon which local authorities were previously empowered to charge developers planning contributions towards any expenditure that was incurred by any local authority in respect of works in order to pay for the provision of public services, including the acquisition of land, which have facilitated the proposed development. The degree however to which the Local Authority may hold and use the monies collected under this provision is qualified, and subject to certain stipulations. For example, in relation to works that are envisaged or planned for a date into the future, the 1963 Act states inter alia that: • where the proposed works are not commenced within a specified period, the local authority shall return the contributions, and • where the proposed works are, within a specified period, only carried out in part or in such manner as to facilitate the proposed development to a lesser extent than was originally envisaged, then in such instance, a proportionate part of the contribution shall be returned to the developer. Failing any mention of a specified timeframe, the 1963 Act states that the monies should have been expended on the said works within seven years of the date of the grant of permission or the Bord Pleanála order.
The 1963 Act does not offer a definition as to what constitutes the area within which the works need to take place in terms of facilitating the development but it must be assumed that the works should have some immediate benefit to the development. In the case of O’Malley Construction Company Ltd v Galway County Council, the applicant sought the repayment from Galway County Council (“the Council”) of a planning contribution in the sum of €1,100,456 on the basis that certain works in respect of which the contribution was given did not, in fact, facilitate the development in question. In this case, the High Court ruled that a building company was entitled to the return of more than €1m paid by it to Galway County Council towards construction of a bypass that was never fully completed as only 460 metres of the planned 2.7km bypass of the village of Barna were constructed. The Judge, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, said that the Council had had seven years to build the bypass and as this had not occurred, the local authority was obliged to return the money. As a result O’Malley Construction Ltd was entitled to a refund of €1.1m, with interest, of money paid as part of a condition of planning permission secured by it several years previously to develop a site at Barna, on the west side of Galway city.
Refunds may also be requested in cases of double charging by the local authority. Developers should not be required to make two payments in respect of the same piece of infrastructure, and therefore a public infrastructure project should not be simultaneously included in a general contribution scheme, a special development contributions scheme or indeed a supplementary contribution scheme. Similarly any development contribution already levied and paid in respect of a given development should be deducted
from the subsequent charge so as to reflect that the development had already made a contribution. This is of particular importance with reference to change of use and change of plan planning application types. Double charging can also potentially arise where development contributions are supported by local area plans (LAP’s). This can occur because development which is located in the area which is the subject of an LAP, and levied under the LAP, can then be subject to a second development charge according to the full development plan. In accordance with accepted practice, development contributions should not be charged in respect of social housing units, including those which are provided in accordance with an agreement made under Part V of the 2000 Act (as amended under the Planning & Development (Amendment) Act, 2002). The Water Services (No. 2) Act 2013, which was enacted on 25 December 2013, transferred a range of statutory water services functions from Local Authorities to Irish Water from 1 January 2014. Therefore, Local Government Planning Authorities cannot include conditions on permissions granted after 1 January 2014 that require contributions towards water infrastructure and facilities. Unintended use of contribution funds. Development contributions cannot be used to fund the day-to-day running of the local authority and may only be levied as capital funding for public infrastructure and cannot be used to fund the current operational costs of a local authority.
The onus is on the local authority to show in an open and transparent fashion the use to which the development contribution has been put in accordance with the provisions of the planning acts. Developers should reasonably expect to be able to identify the infrastructural gain to which their contribution has been applied. Where this is not readily demonstrable the appropriate questions need to be raised in order to determine if it is unjust and unreasonable for the local authority not to refund the contributions in the absence of any sound legal basis. C Tadgh Kelly of Pearts Solicitors carries out audits of planning permissions on behalf of clients in order to pursue claims for planning contribution refunds (01/8722311). Tadgh may be contacted at 01/8722311 and at email@example.com.
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 51
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IT Sligo launches additional online part-time programmes in response to industry needs modules – three per semester, and learners may take as few modules as they wish and complete the programme over a number of years to suit their own circumstances. Online lectures, programme materials, First graduate cohort of the Cert in Road Maintenance Engineering innovative learning, and Network Management at the National Roads Conference in May web links and 2016, accompanied by representatives from IT Sligo, DTTS and Local assessments will be Authorities. uploaded to a Moodle course management system. Online and CIF collaboration According to Leigh McLoughlin, Online part-time learning is becoming very Programme Chair: “our programme aims to popular in the construction sector. This is due produce competent graduates with a broad to many reasons including rapidly evolving skills base in Quantity Surveying. construction regulations and building “We work very closely with employers, standards, skills shortages and also, the practitioners and professional organisations convenience and efficiency associated with to ensure that our course reflects the current online part-time courses. needs of the workplace. Says Trevor McSharry, Head of Department “Graduates will have the knowledge and of Civil Engineering and Construction at competence to manage cost effectively, equate IT Sligo: “as a result of the success of our quality and value with individual client needs online courses and industry demand, we have and be able to critically analyse a complex launched two new programmes: built environment. “BSc in Quantity Surveying and a Master “On completion of this programme of Engineering in Road and Transport graduates will be prepared for the current Engineering. and future role of the Quantity Surveying “We are also continuing with our CIF profession.” collaboration on our BSc in Construction The programme content will give students Management programme and offer a 10% an appropriate, applied academic background discount to its members.” sufficient to pursue a Bsc. (Hons) Degree in Quantity Surveying. New BSc in Quantity Surveying The programme is fully accredited by the The BSc in Quantity Surveying is a new Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) which on-line programme and has been developed provides graduates with an opportunity to in response to the increasing demand for achieve full chartered status. quantity surveying both nationally and internationally due to the increased emphasis on the internationalisation of the construction sector. The upturn in the economy has resulted in a shortage of qualified personnel and there is currently a wealth of opportunities emerging for quantity surveyors. The BSc in Quantity Surveying is a degree programme offered via online distance learning over a period of 2 years, on a parttime basis. The programme consists of twelve subject
New MEng in Road and Transport Engineering
Following on from the successful launch of the Post Grad Cert in Road Maintenance Engineering & Network Management, IT Sligo in collaboration with the Local Authority Services National Training Group (LASNTG) and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTS) are delighted to announce the launch of a new L9 Post Grad Diploma and MEng online part-time programme
tailored to address current civil engineering skills shortages in the areas of road and transport engineering. This course will prepare local authority engineers, consultants and contractors with the knowledge, skills and competences required for success in road and transport engineering. The Programme Chair, Dr Brian McCann outlines that: “in Semesters 1 and 2, the theme is road maintenance engineering and network management, which is also a standalone certificate. “In Semesters 3 and 4, the focus is on road design and construction. “To progress to the MEng, a dissertation is undertaken in your chosen field during Semesters 5 and 6. Note also that both Certificates can be undertaken separately. “The entry requirements for the MEng is a BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering or equivalent. For local authority engineers, this programme will be 80% funded by DTTS and 20% funded by local authorities.”
Other related online programmes on offer from IT Sligo include BSc (Hons) in Quantity Surveying which has full SCSI/ RICS and CIOB accreditation, BSC (Hons) in Construction Project Management, also CIOB accredited and a Post Grad Cert in Project Management which satisfies the education requirement to undergo the PMI exam for CAPM/PMP. IT Sligo delivers more than 40 online parttime programmes to around 1,800 students worldwide, which underlines the growing popularity nationally and internationally of distance and online learning. The Institute was presented with a prestigious 2012 “Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Award” for its online delivery. Online learning programmes are designed for students who want to study part-time at a pace that matches their work-life balance. The rewards of study are many: not alone, a sense of personal fulfilment but also the knowledge, ability and confidence that comes with success. Plus, the prospect of wider career options and contract-winning opportunities. C For further details go to www.itsligo.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 53
CIF Training & Development CIF training and education programmes
CIF IOSH Managing Safety in Construction CIF Construction House, Dublin 6
Course MSIC 2766
7th September Wednesday
09.30am – 16.30pm
IOSH Project Supervisor Design Process PSDP 11th August 12th August CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2767 Thursday Friday
08.30am – 17.00pm
CIF Core Safety Management Programme Renewal/CPD CSMP 19th August 19th August CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2768 Friday Friday
08.30am – 13.00pm
CIF Core Safety Management Programme Renewal/CPD CSMP 26th August 26th August Radisson Blu Hotel, Galway 2769 Friday Friday
08.30am – 13.00pm
CIF Core Safety Management Programme Renewal/CPD CSMP 31st August 31st August CIF Construction House, CIF Offices, Little Island, Cork 2770 Wednesday Wednesday
08.30am – 13.00pm
CIF IOSH Managing Safety in Construction CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6
09.30am – 16.30pm
10th August Wednesday
6th September Tuesday
4th October Tuesday
Project Supervisor Construction Stage PSCS 7th September 21st September CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2773 Wednesday Wednesday
08.30am – 17.00pm
CIF IOSH Managing Safety in Construction MSIC 9th September 7th October Radisson Blu Galway, Galway 2774 Friday Friday
09.30am – 16.30pm
Building Control Course - Legislation 1 CSE 2 - BCC 15th September 15th September CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2775 Thursday Thursday
Building Control Course - Legislation 2 CSE 2 BCC 15th September 15th September CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2775 Thursday Thursday
Building Control Course -Legislation 3/ Code of Practice/Contractors CSE 2 BCC 16th September 16th September CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2775 Friday Friday
Building Control Course -Part D Materials and Workmanship CSE 2 BCC 16th September 16th September CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2775 Friday Friday
IOSH Project Supervisor Design Process PSDP 22nd September 23rd September CIF Offices, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2777 Thursday Friday
08.30am – 16.30pm
CIF IOSH Managing Safety in Construction MSIC 27th September 25th October 2778 Tuesday Tuesday CIF Offices Little Island, Cork
09.30am – 16.30pm
CIF QQI Building Control Course - Part A & Part C - BCC 29th September 29th September 08.30am-17.00pm Subsoils + Substructures  CSE 2 2775 Thursday Thursday CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 CIF QQI Building Control Course - Part A & Part C - BCC 30th September 30th September 08.30am-17.00pm Subsoils + Substructures  CSE 2 2775 Friday Friday CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 CIF Core Safety Management Programme Renewal/CPD CSMP 28th September 28th September CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2779
08.30am – 13.00pm
CIF Management & Inspection of Scaffold SI 30th September 30th September 08.30am – 17.00pm CIF Construction House, Canal Road, Dublin 6 2780
July/August 2016 CONSTRUCTION 55
Actavo Hire & Sales expands Dublin presence with new Northside Depot - Dublin GAA All-Star cuts ribbon! just off the M50 and a 3-minute drive from the airport, the depot will serve the entire northside of Dublin and beyond, with delivery services to anywhere in Ireland. Pictured at the launch are: Mayor of Fingal County Council, Cllr. Officially David O’Connor and Dublin GAA All-Star Philly McMahon. opened by special guest, Actavo Hire & Sales, a leading supplier of Dublin GAA All-Star Philly McMahon, the scaffolding, fencing, crowd control barriers depot will initially employ a team of five. and traffic management products, has Addressing the launch, Mayor of Fingal expanded its presence in Dublin with the County Council, Cllr. David O’Connor, said: opening of a new depot in Santry. “It’s very encouraging to see new jobs being created in this community. Services “The opening of this new depot signals a Located on the Old Santry Road, Cloghan, growing confidence in both the locality and
the construction sector generally.” Also speaking at the new northside depot launch, CEO of Actavo | Structural Division, Roger Hastie said: “Actavo | Hire & Sales have had an established presence in West Dublin (Lucan), Galway and Cork for many years, as well as having almost 30 depots across the UK. “This is our first depot on Dublin’s northside and we are delighted to be here.”
Winning “Ease of access, ample parking and proximity to the M50, M1, M2 and M3, airport, DCU, IKEA and Dublin Port is a winning combination for us. “There’s been an upswing in trade over the last year at our other hire & sales outlets and we look forward to providing excellent service to new and existing customers right across the island of Ireland from our new depot in Santry.”
Irishman to Lead European Engineering Association
Kevin Rudden, Garland CEO, has been appointed as President-elect of the European Federation of Consulting Engineering Associations (EFCA) in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Kevin is the first Irish person to be elected to this prestigious position. He will officially take over as President of EFCA in June 2017 for a three-year term. EFCA is the sole European federation representing the consulting engineering industry and related services, we are
56 CONSTRUCTION July/August 2016
informed. It has member associations in 25 countries, which employ over one million staff and provide €150bn worth of engineering services per annum. Kevin’s first involvement with EFCA began in 2005 as a representative at the European Construction Safety Forum. He was later a member of the EFCA Working Party on the Temporary and Mobile Sites (Health & Safety) Directive 92/57 from 2007 to 2009. In May 2014, Kevin was elected to the Board of Directors of EFCA. As a member of the Board of EFCA, Kevin represents the interests of Irish Consulting Engineers in Europe. Significant pieces of European legislation and directives are implemented in Ireland that effect the domestic
construction industry. Therefore it is critical that the impacts of such directives on Ireland are considered and addressed at draft stage prior to implementation.
Kevin is also the board representative on the EFCA External Affairs Committee. This committee provides a liaison forum with the world’s donor-funded agencies such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank. His specific role on this committee is to represent the interests of SMEs in securing projects from these agencies. Kevin is the immediate past President of The Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI).
Ireland’s National BIM Council, launched in Dublin Ireland’s National BIM Council (NBC) a national body to support the advancement of digital in the construction sector was officially launched this summer.
Strategy NBC was formed as a recommendation of the Enterprise Ireland 2014 National BIM Forum and is a key measure in fulfilling the Government’s national ‘Construction 2020’ strategy. The inaugural meeting was convened by its chair, Caroline Spillane, Director General of professional body, Engineers Ireland. Welcoming the council, she said: “The formation is a key step forward in realising the potential of digital tools and processes within Ireland’s construction sector. “The NBC recognises the role of technology and ‘better information management’ in achieving measured improvements in productivity, international competitiveness and collaboration.
Standing L-R: Alan Hore; Shane Brodie; Gerard Bourke; Tom Costello; Ralph Montague; David O’Brien; Noel Kennedy; Damian Duffy. Seated L-R: John Hunt; Caroline Spillane; Sean Downey
“Further, the move towards a more highly engineered ‘data rich’ product with less ‘on-site’ physical labour, opens new opportunities for innovation and a far more interesting, exciting and diverse range of career choices within the industry.”
• • •
Stephen Hughes, the head of Construction at Enterprise Ireland, said: “Ireland’s National BIM Council is a partnership between the public sector and industry to provide vision, leadership and a collective voice for the advancement of digital in the design, construction and operation of built assets. “A primary role for the council will be to develop an industry ‘road map’ that will seek to optimise the successful implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) in Ireland.” The council is composed of members from the public and private sector and represents clients of construction and the industry supply chain.
Safe-T Certification at Secon Secon Construction Services Ltd. is a multi-disciplined company operating in the areas of Industrial Pipe and Ductwork Insulation and Fire Stopping.
Working with clients in the Pharmaceutical, Industrial, Food, Drink and Dairy sectors, the company has achieved a reputation for providing the highest standards of Safety at Work – and quality of workmanship on large-scale long-term projects, short-term and maintenance contracts. Secon is now an established provider of services to some of Ireland’s leading companies and corporations. Integral to the development and growth of Secon is the well-being and safety of employees at all levels. “Safe-T Cert has given us the opportunity to further demonstrate this by the introduction of a high level Safety
L to R: Stephen Ryan; Martin Bowen; Fintan Hurley Management System to meet the demands of our organisation and we are delighted to achieve a level B grade Safe-T-certification at this time,” Construction is told.
“Through continuous improvement and monitoring our intention is to maintain and advance our classification further. “Safe-T-Certification has also given Secon a recognised Industry Safety Standard that is now the required standard of many clients at contract prequalification stage.”
• • •
• • •
Caroline Spillane (Chair), Engineers Ireland Tom Costello, IPUT plc Damian Duffy, National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) David O’Brien, Office of Government Procurement (OGP) Gerard Bourke, Office of Public Works (OPW) Noel Kennedy, Intel Corporation Sean Downey, Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Ralph Montague, Arcdox and CitA BIM Group John Hunt, Enterprise Ireland Dr Alan Hore (Secretariat), DIT/CitA
BIM Adoption in Ireland The first national survey (October 2015) to benchmark the level of Building Information Modelling (BIM) adoption across the Architects, Engineers, and Contractors (AEC) of Ireland revealed that 67% of the industry sample possessed confidence in their skills and knowledge to deliver BIM.
Population shows need for infrastructure investment Recent Census results show strong population growth in both Cork City and County. CIF Cork Branch Chairman, Cormac Smith, says this illustrates the need for all stakeholders to ensure “that public infrastructural investment keeps pace with private sector investment and strong population growth. “An increase in population of over 23,000 people shows that we need to provide for this population growth by investing in transportation infrastructural projects such as the Dunkettle Interchange, the N28 and the N22, as well as further investment in schools, hospitals and other facilities.” Cormac Smith continues: “The strong population growth illustrates the need to ensure that adequate housing accommodation is provided for everyone.”
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Code of practice governing the conduct of Adjudications under Construction Contracts Act, 2013 The Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen, has published a Code of Practice governing the conduct of adjudications arising under the Construction Contracts Act, 2013. The Construction Contracts Act, 2013 will apply to certain construction contracts entered into after 25 July 2016.
The purpose of the Act is to regulate payments under construction contracts and to provide for, inter alia, a new right to refer a payment dispute for adjudication. The new Code of Practice sets out the detailed arrangements for the conduct of adjudications under the Act. All adjudicators operating under the Construction Contracts Act, 2013 will be required to adhere to the Code of Practice published by Minister Breen under section 9 of the Act.
Minister Breen said: “I am pleased to be in a position to publish this Code of Practice which governs the conduct of adjudications arising from the Construction Contracts Act, 2013. “As Minister for Employment and Small Business I am acutely aware of the difficulties businesses face in relation to costs and payments and this Code of Practice represents the final step in implementing this important legislation.
“I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Construction Contracts Adjudication Panel, Dr. Nael Bunni and the stakeholder organisations for their valuable contributions to the preparation of the Code. “My Department will now undertake a public information campaign to highlight the new statutory rights and obligations arising under the Act.”
Ardmac makes ‘1,000 Companies to Inspire Europe’ list Ardmac has been identified as one of London Stock Exchange Group’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Europe.
The report is a celebration of the EU’s fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized businesses. To be included in the list, companies needed to show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years, significantly outperforming their industry peers. Ardmac, an international specialist construction contractor, has almost 40 years’ experience in delivering high quality construction projects for global brands in the commercial, retail and industrial markets, in a variety of sectors including Global Retail Brands; Datacentres; Micro-Electronic; Pharmaceutical; Biotech; Medical Device; Automotive and Aerospace. This involves turnkey design and build
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from inception to completion, interior fit-out and cleanroom construction. Says Ronan Quinn, CEO/Founder: “Ardmac retains its market leadership position through our commitment to client delivery, the in-depth industry knowledge of our people, and the proven quality of our processes. “We’re delighted to have made the list and have all the hard work put in by the Ardmac team recognised.” “We are in amazing company as the businesses and entrepreneurs in the report are all fantastic illustrations of the pioneering, entrepreneurial spirit with the capacity to produce world-class innovation.” Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive, London Stock Exchange Group said: “This research shows high-growth SMEs are the driving force behind the European economy.” Meanwhile, Ardmac has recently
announced the appointment of Chris Chambers as Operations Director. Chris is a qualified engineer and has over 15 years’ experience in the construction industry. He brings a wealth of in-depth industry knowledge and has a strong track record of success with his former senior leadership roles within major construction organisations. He was given the responsibility for both commercial and construction management of several high profile and important projects in the public and private sector. “We’re honoured to have Chris on the team,” said Group Operations Director, Alan Coakley. “The wealth of knowledge he’s accrued will be critical and will further solidify our commitment to designing, building and delivering the best solutions for our clients.”
Tipperary Construction Company Clancy takes a clean sweep at industry awards!
ipperary construction firm, Clancy, headquartered in Drangan, Thurles won five awards at this year’s Irish Construction Industry Awards held in the Double Tree hotel in Dublin. Clancy won excellence in Health and safety; Health Project of the Year; Education Project of The Year; Project Manager of the year – David O Sullivan, and the judges’ best overall scores for all categories on the night also went to Clancy
for Construction Project of the year.
John O’Shaughnessy, Managing Director, said they were delighted with the awards, “which shows we are one of the leading building contractors in the country who carry out all aspects of our business to the highest standards at all times and these awards are a recognition of our efforts. “We have a very strong committed and
professional management team,” said John. “And I would like to thank all our staff for the commitment to the company over the years – it is this commitment that has brought about this success. “We look forward to building on this success in the years ahead by continuing to work in partnership with all project stakeholders to deliver all our projects to our clients’ satisfaction.”
New hybrid polymer waterproofing system available from SIG Ireland Fix-R liquid waterproofing is a new hybrid polymer waterproofing system available from SIG Ireland.
It is a one-component system which is isocyanurate free, contains no solvents, has very low volatile organic compounds (VOC) and does not require classification or marking as a hazardous substance. It is fully reinforced with a polyester membrane and cures through contact with the moisture in the atmosphere. Being largely independent of the weather it can be applied under practically any conditions, even on cold days and on damp surfaces. Fix-R liquid waterproofing is ideally suited for new build, repair or refurbishment projects incorporating flat roofs, balconies, terraces, walkways and internal plant rooms and wet rooms. It has excellent elasticity and tensile strength and does not suffer from shrinkage. Fix-R liquid waterproofing system is simple to use straight from the bucket.
Applied by brush or roller it is ideal for flame-free application where access is limited or where large amounts of detailing are required. Fix-R liquid waterproofing is a safe product to use, store, handle and transport. It is a virtually odourless, solvent-free, non-hazardous substance with extremely low VOC’s making it suitable for use almost anywhere. It is non-flammable and is oil and solvent resistant.
A ready-to-use product with no mixing involved and water-repellent on application. It can be applied all year round above 0˚C and can be recoated. It has a very cost effective wet-onwet application with minimum wastage as unused product can be stored and reused. Fix-Rcryl is a one-coat roofing repair solution which is part of the Fix-R liquid waterproofing range. It is an easy-to-apply repair product which offers instant shower protection and
is unaffected by temperature. It is a low odour, low VOC’s product which can be cold-applied even in damp weather. As a fibre-reinforced product, Fix-Rcryl can fill minor cracks and gaps and it has a quick build up which won’t sag, even on vertical surfaces. For more information contact SIG Roofing at: 01 895 1795. Visit the website www.sigroofing.ie or email email@example.com
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Groundforce Training team up with ITS in Ireland
roundforce Training has teamed up with Industry Training Services to bring their highly acclaimed training course academy to Ireland.
“Groundforce Training are the market leader in the provision of safety in excavation training and their training academy will shortly be available to their customers in Ireland at Industry Training Services’ new 10-acre site in Co. Armagh, which has extensive facilities and space to facilitate this very specialist training,” is the message to readers. There will be an option of one, two and three-day structured courses which will include a combination of classroom-based understanding and workshops, together with practical training and assessments on real on-site scenarios. The Groundforce Training Services team will also offer bespoke courses, tailored to meet specific requirements. All excavation courses come with
a highly regarded qualification through the EUSR structure giving employers a robust way of verifying the abilities of their workforce, while individuals have a recognised method of demonstrating their abilities to employers. Brendan Crealey, Managing Director of ITS says: “We are delighted that Groundforce have chosen our new centre as a location for their training academy in Ireland. “We certainly have the facilities at our new site to allow this practical training to be delivered to Irish customers with extensive areas for the practical side along with our classroom, canteen and parking facilities.”
Ruairi O’Neill of Groundforce says:
L – R: Brendan Crealey, Managing Director of ITS and Ruairi O’Neill of Groundforce “Groundforce and ITS and are both leaders in their fields and we are thrilled to partner with them to open up our training services to our customers in Ireland. “The location offers everything we need to run our full suite of EUSR accredited excavation courses to the highest quality.”
DuPont™ Tyvek® and DuPont™ AirGuard® tick all the right boxes for a new modular office block development by Extraspace Solutions Extraspace Solutions specialises in meeting the challenging demands of modern construction – especially when space is at a premium – by offering versatile, cost-effective and highly practical modular systems.
weather-proofing shield (and has been specially branded with the Extraspace Solutions logo) while the highperformance air and vapour control layer DuPont™ AirGuard® Reflective enhances the airtightness of the structure.
One innovative new project is a €20m Euro office development for Pramerica Systems Ireland Ltd. in Donegal, consisting of 300 hi-tech modules – with the potential to increase this number if needed to 420. Each three-storey block is 51m x 24m and each steel-frame module measures 12.2m x 2.9m. Designed to achieve specifications above regulations, each unit aims for maximum efficiency and benefits from the proven performance of DuPont building membranes. The advanced breather membrane Tyvek® Soft is used as the external
DuPont™ AirGuard® was chosen, according to Stevin Tedstone of Extraspace, “for its overall performance as well as being the only reflective AVCL with both a warranty and a BBA certificate. “We have long experience of working with the DuPont™ Tyvek® which gives us peace of mind. What’s more, when architects and professionals know we are using DuPont membranes, it ticks all the boxes as it guarantees all the specs and paperwork data will be in place.”
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For more information about DuPont™ Tyvek® go to www.construction.tyvek.co.uk or call 00 44 1275 337 660 (087 922 2740 in ROI)
DAMTEC® Impact Sound Insulation – The cure for all your sound reduction headaches Ideal for use directly under floor coverings in both new builds and refurbishments; DAMTEC® Standard is the universal product for impact sound insulation. Suitable under parquet, laminate as well as under carpets, linoleum, PVC flooring, and tiles, DAMTEC® has the versatility to meet even the most stringent of project requirements. Appropriate for both loose lay and stick down installations, the beauty of the DAMTEC® products lies not only in their in their ease of installation but also in the acoustic sound reduction ratings achieved at panel thicknesses as low as 2mm. Independently tested to evidence compliance with Technical Guidance Document E of the 2014 Irish Building Regulations, DAMTEC® is the complete solution for reducing sound transmission in both residential and commercial floors.
Manufactured Made from recycled materials, this Ecofriendly product is manufactured under
the strictest of quality controls in Germany and has brought peace and quiet to the Irish market for in excess of 15 years. Kieran Phelan, Flooring Divisional Manager at Laydex, comments: “Part E of the Building Regulations has brought Sound Reduction in dwellings to the forefront of most construction professionals in the last number of years. “High profile project failures and the role of the Assigned Certifier has further pushed these requirements under the spotlight and Laydex, in conjunction with
our partners, are committed to the supply of quality, sustainable products to the market at competitive rates but without comprising on quality.” DAMTEC® impact sound insulation products are exclusively distributed in Ireland by Laydex Building Solutions. For more information on the DAMTEC® product range, visit www.laydex.ie or give them a call to discuss your design requirements. Phone: 01 6426600 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Website: www.laydex.ie
Cumiskey scaffolding gains from new Layher Ireland facility
Cumiskey scaffolders being trained on Layher equipment. Cumiskey Scaffolding who, as a contractor operating throughout Ireland, has been a long-term user of the Layher system, has endorsed the advantages that its customers will now enjoy from the recent opening of the Layher Ireland depot in County Meath.
The organisation’s commitment to both Layher scaffolding and weather protection systems has long brought key gains to a wide range of projects – Cumiskey operates widely across the building and maintenance sectors – all of which now
benefits from greater access to the Layher network. A subsidiary of Layher Ltd., Layher Ireland operates in both southern and Northern Ireland and provides both extensive stockholding and training to ensure all users gain from the range of equipment. “We can demonstrate that Layher products are faster, easier to handle and have fewer components than alternatives,” says John Carolan, Layher Ireland’s Manager, “resulting directly in reduced costs for labour, transportation and maintenance for users.” These are views that are echoed by Robert Cumiskey, Managing Director of Cumiskey Scaffolding: “We have found over many projects that the Layher system is typically three times faster than tube and fitting scaffolding while its versatility and method of assembly simplify installations of all types – we provide scaffolding solutions from
schools to churches and from bridges to tanks,” he says. “This obviously has a beneficial impact on time and thus, labour costs, while the method of assembly and wide working platforms are key features of each Layher installation. “These are factors that also enhance our own commitment to safety on site.”
The availability of comprehensive training via the new Layher Ireland facility also reflects Cumiskey Scaffolding’s commitment to ensuring its workforce achieves and maintains the highest level of skills. “We believe strongly in the benefits of investment in both equipment and people,” adds Robert Cumiskey. Members of both the NASC and the CIF, the organisation can point to a track record spanning some 25 years and, for more than half of that time, says Robert C
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for your diary Monday 22nd August
Thursday 22nd September
Tuesday 15th November
Cork Branch Executive meeting
North West Branch meeting
Mid West Branch meeting
Construction House, Little Island, 4pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Breaffy House Hotel, Castlebar, 8pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick, 4.30pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Tuesday 23rd August
Monday 26th September
Mid West Branch meeting Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick, 4.30pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Cork Branch Executive meeting Construction House, Little Island, 4pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Wednesday 16th November
South East Branch meeting
Marina Hotel, Waterford, 7pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Monday 29th August
Cork Branch IHBA meeting Construction House, Little Island, 4pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Tuesday 30th August
Executive Body meeting Construction House, Dublin, 11am Contact: Gillian Heffernan 01 406 6016
Monday 5th September
Galway Branch meeting Ardilaun House Hotel, Galway, 6pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Tuesday 27th September
Mid West Branch meeting Castletroy Park Hotel, Limerick, 4.30pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Wednesday 16th November
Donegal Branch meeting Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, 8pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Thursday 6th October
CIF CONFERENCE, CROKE PARK Constructing Ireland 2027. Starts at 9am Contact email@example.com
Tuesday 11th October
Executive Body meeting Construction House, Dublin, 11am Contact: Gillian Heffernan 01 406 6016
Tuesday 22nd November
Executive Body meeting (followed by CIF AGM) Construction House, Dublin, 11am Contact: Gillian Heffernan 01 406 6016
Thursday 24th November Tuesday 6th September
Midland Branch meeting Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar, 8pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Monday 7th November
Cork Branch Executive meeting Construction House, Little Island, 4pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Brandon House Hotel, New Ross, 7pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Sligo Park Hotel, Sligo, 8pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Monday 28th November
Cork Branch IHBA meeting
Wednesday 7th September
South East Branch meeting
North West Branch meeting
Monday 7th November
Galway Branch meeting Ardilaun House Hotel, Galway, 6pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Construction House, Little Island, 4pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Monday 5th December
Wednesday 14th September
Donegal Branch meeting Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny, 8pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
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Tuesday 8th November
Cork Branch Executive meeting
Tullamore Court Hotel, Tullamore, 8pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Venue to be confirmed, 5pm Contact: Brid Cody 021 435 1410
Midland Branch meeting
Scammers targeting those in workplace Scammers are always thinking up new ways to scam people. Most scams target people directly such as through social media, letters to their home or by mobile phone. However, scammers are also targeting people in their workplaces.
ou may think that the company you work for is safe from scammers but they are always finding more sophisticated ways to target people. To help you stay protected from scams, the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) has put together a list of some current scams to watch out for.
A total of 27% of calls received to the CCPC’s consumer helpline are about scams related to PC scams. This involves a scammer calling your office claiming to be from a well-known IT company such as Microsoft. They ring to say that your PC has a virus or has been hacked. They then instruct you to download a file from a website so that they can gain access to your computer remotely to resolve the issue. This gives them a chance to access your personal details including financial information. In some cases they even ask for your credit card details to pay for their “service”. This type of scam is known as “phishing”. Scammers attempt to get personal details such as your bank account, credit card numbers, usernames and passwords from you. If they manage to trick you into handing over these details, they will then try to steal from you.
If you need to make extra money and are looking for another job that allows you to
“work from home” in the evenings, make sure that the job you choose is genuine and not a scam. You may have seen “Workfrom-home” adverts displayed, perhaps on Facebook, in your local supermarket or in a newspaper. These adverts sound great, especially if you are recently unemployed or you simply need more money. However, you should be careful as many of these offers are scams. Often there are hidden costs that you yourself will have to pay, such as money upfront for materials, stamps, envelopes, photocopies or placing adverts – then you wait for weeks and hear nothing. Another twist is where the company makes you pay for an expensive “instruction manual” or “tutorial” software.
Pyramid scheme scams
Many will have heard of pyramid schemes or have unknowingly come across one. They normally involve the sale of a product, such as a beauty product and promise you quick and easy money in return for an upfront investment. People are at risk of being a target of this scam through a number of different channels, including the workplace. For instance, it may begin with a work colleague mentioning to you how they are making a significant amount of cash by selling a particular product. They may try to encourage you to become a rep for this product. However, this is a scam and is designed to con you into investing significant amounts of money which can never be recovered. Your work colleague may not realise that they themselves are a victim of a scam because they are focused on their own target and on recruiting others. The scammers make money by recruiting people who all put money into the scheme. So for everyone to profit there would have to be an endless supply of people joining up,
and this never happens. When the pyramid scheme collapses people lose the money they invested. Pyramid schemes are illegal, and you could face prosecution for participating in one.
This scam involves scamming taxpayers. A scammer sends fraudulent emails claiming to be from the Revenue Commissioners. The email says that you are due a tax refund and to click on a link. This link brings you to a website that looks identical to the real Revenue website but it is a fake. It asks you to input your bank account details to claim the tax you’re owed. Revenue would never send emails requiring you to send personal information via email or pop-up windows. If you receive an email that claims to be from Revenue and you suspect it is fraudulent, delete it. If you are waiting on a tax refund you should contact your local Revenue Office to check its status. Do you know what to do if you come across a scam? If you have been scammed out of money you should inform the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation on (01) 6663777 or contact your local Garda station immediately. If you handed over money by card, you should also contact your bank or credit card company and tell them what happened. The quicker you do this the better so they can tell you what action needs to be taken. This might include putting a stop to your account, cancelling your credit or debit card or stopping a transaction from going through. You can also let us know and we can help spread the word so other consumers aren’t affected. You can contact us through our Consumer helpline on Lo-call 1890 432 432, on (01) 402 5500 or share your experience on our Facebook page. Building awareness about scams helps to put a stop to them. C
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Success for Gyproc Ireland in the tenth Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy T
he tenth Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy Awards ceremony was held at the Žofín Palace in Prague, Czech Republic. The ceremony resulted in another success for Gyproc Ireland as St. John’s College – Respond! Housing Association, represented by contractor Mythen Construction Ltd., was awarded runner-up position in the Residential category.
With eighty-nine competing projects from thirty-five different countries, this was truly a global event. With only winner and runner-up positions from six categories, competition was high with ten projects entered in the Residential category alone. St. John’s College was a Catholic seminary founded in 1807 for the diocese of Waterford and Lismore. St. John’s closed as a seminary in June 1999 due to the decline in vocations and in 2007 the college building and some of the land was sold to the Respond! Housing Association. The college was completely refurbished by Respond! into 21 self-contained apartments for the elderly with a 10-bed group home, as well as a Day Centre that will cater for the wider Waterford community. The refurbishment project takes the history of the Gothic Revivalist style building into account, as its aim was to preserve and protect the old walls, fine stained glass windows and beautiful stonework. The building was a protected structure, which meant that there were substantial challenges in both the design and implementation stages of the project. The Gyproc specification team worked closely with Mythen Construction and Respond! Housing Association to ensure the protected structure was maintained whilst ensuring that the relevant building regulations were met in terms of acoustics and fire.
A judge from the international jury commented, “this fantastic renovation achieved a very high quality finish and
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boasts superior aesthetics throughout. “This was a very technically challenging project completed to a high standard using the best of the technical solutions Gyproc has to offer.” The Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy showcases how Gyproc high performance plasterboard systems and plasters, combined with skilled workmanship provide solutions for high quality, safe, comfortable, modular and sustainable interiors across a wide variety of applications. The six categories for the Trophy are: • Plaster • Plasterboard • Commercial • Innovation & Sustainability • Residential • Segment Solutions The Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy campaign is organised over a two-year period, starting with regional and national events and culminating in an international awards ceremony. The competition is judged by an international jury, comprising external specialists representing all of the industry’s key professional, trade and client interests as well as representatives from Saint-Gobain. Winners from Ireland’s national event went forward to compete in the
international event in Prague:
National Event Winners Plasterboard Winner: Eaton House, Dublin 8 Drylining Contractor – Platt & Reilly. Architect – Michael Collins and Associates Residential Winner: St Johns College – Respond! Housing Contractor – Mythen Construction Limited. Architect – Respond! Housing Association Innovation & Sustainability Winner: Analog Devices R&D Centre, Limerick Drylining Contractor – Castle Ceilings. Architect – EML Architects Gyproc Ireland, which is part of SaintGobain, is proud to partake in this International Trophy awards programme which is one of the largest competitions of its kind. Created in 1998 to recognise and reward the craftsmanship of drywall and plastering contractors, the trophy aims to promote excellence and innovation in the use of sustainable and lightweight plasterboard systems and plasters. C For more information on the Saint-Gobain Gypsum International Trophy visit www. saint-gobain-gyproc.com or alternatively contact Maria Burns firstname.lastname@example.org