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NEW BUILDING ACTIVITY ACROSS THE COUNTRY EDGED AHEAD IN 2012 COMPARED TO 2011 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013

FOR UP TO THE MINUTE NEWS LOG ON TO www.irishconstruction.com

CONTRACTING SUSTAINABILITY RMI INFRASTRUCTURE ●

RECOVERY? YES WE CAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY PROSPECTS New Building construction edges ahead of last year

BUILDING COSTS An expert guide to the latest building cost models

€780 million boost for capital programme EIB pump millions into Irish water services projects CIC outline funding roadmap to recovery Overseas Strategies pay dividends for Irish Engineers €300m LUAS extension gets start date

SPOTLIGHT ON NAMA Inside NAMA – how is it really performing?

HEALTH & SAFETY LEGISLATION Important changes to health and safety law – William Fry Solicitors explain


Comments

Milestone to Recovery Highly regarded economist Pat McArdle writing in the Irish Times reckons that the promissory note deal is a good one in so far as it was as much as we could have hoped for. Pat McArdle maintains the deal reduces the loan burden by a third or as he puts it: ‘€8 billion in today’s money’! And Pat McArdle has the inside track in terms of insight given that he has worked as an economist with a leading bank, worked in the Department of Finance, NCB Stockbrokers and the EC Commission. The Government estimates it will have to borrow less than € 1bn a year to service the interest on the new government bonds, compared with payments of over € 3bn annually on the promissory notes. Taoiseach Enda Kenny says the deal means expenditure reductions and tax increases will be of the order of € 1 billion less to meet the 3% deficit target. There will be a €20 billion reduction in the NTMA’s market borrowing requirements in the next decade.

Talking of property sales, I also hear that AIB chief economist Oliver Mangan maintains the country is facing into a housing shortage. Houses were built in the wrong places, he claims, adding that it is now almost impossible to get a family home in Dublin. He also said some stabilisation has arrived in the housing market, suggesting that we have a market that is bouncing along the bottom. Some months the house prices are up, some months they go down. We are an open economy so reports in the international newswires that the outlook for the U.S. construction sector is brighter, suggesting a recovery underway, can only add momentum to our recovery efforts and prospects. 82,000 construction jobs were created between November and January, the biggest three-month gain since the three months ended April 2006. So how appropriate it is to me that we paraphrase Barrack Obama’s Yes We Can slogan on the front cover as we pass a major milestone in our recovery endeavors. Onwards and upwards!

Of course, the deal spells the end of IBRC; talk of fire sales of IBRC properties is rife.

Michael Hayes Editor

Irish Construction Industry Magazine Publisher: MCD Media Ltd. Managing Editor: Michael McDonnell michael@mcdmedia.ie Editor: Michael Hayes mhayes@mcdmedia.ie Subscriptions & Circulation, Accounts/Administration: Linda Doran accounts@mcdmedia.ie Production & Design: Catherine Kelleher catherine@mcdmedia.ie

Published under License from Irish Construction Industry Magazine is circulated to: Architects, Quantity Surveyors, Developers, Contractors, Engineers, Suppliers, Manufacturers and Distributors, Members of the National Prefabrication Builders Association (UK), Ireland’s Top 100 Construction Companies (as compiled by Irish Construction Industry Magazine), county managers in Ireland’s corporations and county councils, Government departments and UK building contractors, quantity surveyors and engineering practices.

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© 2012. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. The views and opinions contained in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. The publishers do not accept responsibility for accuracy, errors or omissions in articles or advertisements, or for unsolicited reports or photographs. Reference in this publication to commercial products, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favouring by Irish Construction Industry Magazine. The views and opinions of authors and contributors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of Irish Construction Industry Magazine nor does it assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the information contained or submitted.


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Cover Story

Investment – It may be down on previous years, but total DECLG funding of some €1.25 billion - including €43 million in capital investment carried over from 2012 - is very significant

Features

Central Intelligence – In the near-term, the growth in Russia's construction industry is expected to accelerate. It will be mainly fuelled by state-funded civil engineering projects, most for the development of the country’s transport and heavy industry infrastructure

New Building Activity – The total number of new residential and commercial buildings recorded across the country in 2012 was 12,541, representing a year-on-year increase of 2% compared to 2011

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Water Infrastructure – Fast tracking the roll out of water meters could help ensure a more balanced payment process while simultaneously boosting job creation 10

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Construction Outlook – The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has said over 70,000 jobs could be created if the Government delivers on its projected spend on the Public Capital Programme and facilitates the funding of major projects from alternative sources 14 Industry Analysis – The Irish construction sector continued to contract at the start of 2013, although rates of decline in activity, new orders and employment all eased during the month and 18 business sentiment improved NAMA Performance – Among the highlights announced by NAMA in its 2012 end-year summary of progress made since its inception was the generation of €10.5 billion in cash flows Legal Report – New Health and Safety legislation could be in place in June 2013 www.irishconstruction.com

Construction Economics – Fitch is being called on to look at how they compile their residential property briefings for Ireland in future as compiling a macro view of the Irish property market no longer holds water

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Capital Project Investment – The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced a loan of some €200 million to support improvements in Ireland’s Water Services Investment Programme 30 (WSIP) by financing 23 projects in Dublin and 10 counties

Ecobuild Preview – Since its launch in 2005, Ecobuild has almost doubled in size every year to become the biggest event in the world for sustainable design, construction and the built 32 environment Legal Focus – What are the implications of a The UK High Court that examined the circumstances where it is appropriate to imply a term into a sub-contract requiring a sub-contractor 34 to proceed with its works regularly and diligently Building Costs – What are the latest building costs associated with office new build and refurbishment works? Tomas Kelly of Davis Langdon, an AECOM company, provides the expert QS insights 36

Technical Report – BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised 41 measures of a building's environmental performance January/February 2013

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Capital Funding

€1.25 billion funding boost for Capital Projects

It may be down on previous years, but total DECLG funding of some € 1.25 billion - including € 43 million in capital investment carried over from 2012 - is very significant, according to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan

H

e says: “this funding will be invested in protecting the environment, supporting high quality and regionally balanced development, providing social housing, improving water quality and supporting community and rural development in partnership with local government and other local development bodies. “The Estimates provide €467 million for current spending in 2013, which is similar to

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the provision made last year. Savings measures totalling some €19 million will be achieved. Savings will be delivered in departmental administration costs. Increased efficiencies/value for money will be achieved in the provision of housing services and there will be a reduced overall provision for the Local and Community Development Programme. “€310 million is available in current expenditure to support housing programmes.

As part of the Government’s response to the mortgage arrears position, new initiatives will be taken to assist those in difficulties. Further applicants will benefit from the Mortgage to Rent scheme in 2013. Additional housing units will also be secured through the National Asset Management Agency. “As part of the Government's response to the mortgage arrears position and to maintain social housing supply additional www.irishconstruction.com


funding will increase social housing acquired through leasing in 2013. This will include the delivery of NAMA units, mortgage-torent agreements and transactions under the mortgage-to-lease initiative which is currently being developed. “Substantial investment of €49 million will be allocated to support important local development work. Some 9,000 people who are distanced from the labour market will receive direct one-to one labour market training and supports through the Local and Community Development Programme in 2013.” “The EU Presidency 2013 involves a very significant programme of work for the Department. An additional €1.7 million is now being allocated to support this important work which will provide an opportunity to make a positive contribution to developments within the EU and demonstrate Ireland’s capabilities on the international stage.” Turning to capital spending, Minister Hogan says:“despite the savings that have had to be made, significant capital investment is still planned for 2013. I am satisfied that, even within the very difficult budgetary parameters available, some €783 million is to be invested in my Department’s capital programmes in 2013. A key priority is to maximise efficiency and secure best value from the resources we have. Capital investment supports jobs, provides economic stimulus and keeps money in circulation in the economy. “My resolute focus will be to achieve the greatest possible output from the resources available to me. Of course, with increased competition, tender prices have fallen dramatically and significantly more can now be achieved for less. The approach will also involve refocusing priorities and driving efficiencies wherever possible. “€329 million is being allocated to the Water Services Investment Programme which provides the critical infrastructure needed to support economic recovery, employment creation and environmental protection. The 2013 capital allocation will meet financial commitments on over 80 projects currently in progress as well as on completed projects. “€275 million in capital funding will be invested in the housing sector. Momentum will continue on the major regeneration programmes; the allocation of significant funding to this area, in excess of €80 million in 2013, maintains the commitment to physical, social and economic regeneration which is vital from a social policy perspective and also in terms of job creation and economic renewal. In addition, a further 400 homes will be constructed or acquired under the social housing investment programme.

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The importance of protecting the most vulnerable in society is reflected in the provision being made for development of 350 new special needs units and up to 150 new homes to cater specifically for people with disabilities leaving institutional care. “Finally, €105 million in funding for the LEADER programme will support measures aimed at improving the quality of life in rural areas and diversifying the rural economy. It will provide significant support for the creation and development of rural enterprises.” Minister Jan O’Sullivan, Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O’Sullivan, TD, has also said that “In keeping with other Government Departments savings have had to found in the housing budget to contribute to the overall Government goal of fulfilling

provides a €310m allocation in current spending while €275m will be invested through capital expenditure in 2013. Minister O’Sullivan estimates that in excess of 5,000 units will be provided for social housing in 2013. This will include: 350 units for people with special housing needs; 150 units specifically for people leaving institutional care; an additional 400 permanent homes delivered through capital expenditure under the Social Housing Investment Programme; 300 transfers under the Mortgage to Rent Scheme; some 4,000 units will be delivered under social leasing, including property transfers from NAMA, the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and mortgage to lease. According to Minister O’Sullivan, “Additional funding secured will ensure an

Even within the very difficult budgetary parameters available, some € 783 million is to be invested in my Department’s capital programmes in 2013. Environment Minister Phil Hogan our commitments and exiting the bailout programme. While that has involved tough choices I am determined that our focus in the coming year will remain on reform of the housing sector and protecting the most vulnerable.” She says that the State’s capacity to meet housing need through capital construction and acquisition has been significantly reduced in recent years as outlined in the Medium Term Exchequer Framework for Infrastructure and Capital Investment and this will apply in 2013. “The housing budget

increased supply of social housing acquired through leasing in 2013. This will include the delivery of NAMA units, mortgage-torent agreements and transactions under the mortgage-to-lease initiative when that scheme is rolled out.” Initiatives also provided for in the 2013 estimate include €80m provided for the national regeneration programme, which is making real progress in transforming some of our most socially disadvantaged communities and the maintaining of homelessness services in line with expenditure in 2012. www.irishconstruction.com


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Opinion

Russia’s construction output to soar by 2015 In the near-term, the growth in Russia's construction industry is expected to accelerate. It will be mainly fuelled by state-funded civil engineering projects, most for the development of the country’s transport and heavy industry infrastructure. Of high priority will be projects deployed in regions with a vast natural resources potential. The Siberian, Urals, and Far Eastern Federal Districts are expected to be the major beneficiaries

A

ccording to analytical and research company PMR’s latest report, entitled “Construction sector in Russia 2013 − Regional focus. Development forecasts for 2013-2015”, the Far Eastern Federal District is expected to have the fastest developing construction market of all federal districts over the next three years. On average, construction output is forecasted to rise by 12.5% annually, mostly due to a low comparison base and the government’s commitment to accelerating transport infrastructure construction initiatives in the district. In recent years, the major consumer of construction projects in the Far Eastern Federal District was Primorsky Territory, which benefited from multi-billion investments in transport infrastructure projects rolled out as part of preparations for the 2012 APEC summit held in Vladivostok. In the coming years, most construction projects will be implemented in the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia, which, although possessing huge reserves of oil and gas resources, has difficultly in capitalising on them partly due to the greatly underdeveloped transport infrastructure in the area. There are only 10 km of roads per 1,000 km² of territory in Far Eastern Federal District, and 6.7 km in Yakutia, significantly below the country's average of 64 km. The region's key investors in heavy industry projects will be Gazprom, Surgutneftegaz and Rosneft. Gazprom is involved in the construction of the RUB 430bn ($14.3bn) Yakutsky Centr-Kabarovsk-Vladivostok gas pipeline, planned to be completed by 2016. Surgutneftegaz is actively developing the Talakan oil and gas field in Yakutia, where it plans to invest more than RUB 400bn by 2025. Strong growth will be recorded in Siberian Federal District. There, the construction market is estimated to grow on average by 11.3% annually. Unlike Far Eastern Federal District, where the market will be supported overwhelmingly by the civil engineering segment, the construction market's development in Siberian Federal District is expected to be more

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January/February 2013

balanced, with the highest average growth likely to be achieved by the non-residential construction segment. This segment is driven mostly by industrial construction projects. The district’s abundant natural resources supports the development of industrial plants in most economic sectors. According to PMR estimates, the non-residential construction segment was responsible for about 32% of the district’s construction output in 2011. However, in 2012 its influence eased to 25% mostly on the back of modest activity witnessed in the office and shopping centre construction segment. Nevertheless, in the near-term, office and shopping centre construction activity is expected to recover. The most developed city in the district in terms of GLA in shopping centres per 1,000 inhabitants is Omsk, where by the end of 2011 this indicator reached 326 m². It is followed by Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk with 271 m² and 267 m² respectively. An important number of large shopping centres are expected to be completed, including Torgovy Kvartal (117,000 m²) in Krasnoyarsk, Planeta (96,000 m²) in Novosibirsk, and

Arena (80,000 m²) in Barnaul (Altay Territory). Construction of small-scale schemes will dominate the district’s retail real estate market in the years to come, but development of large-scale projects will be on the rise as well. Although the district has an important number of large cities, most of them are low saturated with shopping centre spaces. Strong expansion of the construction activity will also be witnessed in Urals Federal District. The district's construction market is dominated by the civil engineering segment. According to PMR analysts, this is responsible for about two-thirds of markets output, largely supported by investment in heavy industry. Tyumen Province, including Yamal-Nenets and Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Districts, is also called the oil and gas region of the country. In addition, Chelyabinsk Province is one of the key metallurgical regions in Russia. In the years to come, the market will continue to expand largely on the construction of related infrastructure for the development of oil and gas fields in Tyumen Province. By 2030, RUB 6.4tr ($212bn) is to be invested in the development of several oil and gas fields in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District including: • Priobskoye, Samotlor, Prirazlomnogo and Malobalyksk oil fields by Rosneft • Southern segment of the Priobskoye oil field by Gazprom Neft • Fedorovsk oil field by Surgutneftegaz. In addition, Gazprom plans to spend about RUB 2.4tr by 2030 on developing related facilities for the exploration of natural gas reserves on Yamal Peninsula. Less impressive market growth rates will be recorded in Southern Federal District, where growth is expected to rise on average by 2.3% during 20132015. This weak performance will come after a period of large-scale investments as part of preparations for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which must to be completed by the end of 2013. www.pmrpublications.com

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2% increase in new buildings in 2012

Building Trends

The total number of new residential and commercial buildings recorded across the country in of 2012 was 12,541 according to new figures released by GeoDirectory. The figures represent a year on year increase of 2% compared to 2011, when 12,237 new buildings were added to the database, and a drop of 87% compared to the record high of 2007, when 96,000 new buildings were identified

T

he 12,541 new buildings identified across the country by GeoDirectory consisted of 10,919 residential buildings, 1,245 commercial buildings and 375 dual-purpose buildings with both residential and commercial components. 14 counties; (Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Louth, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly, Sligo, Tipperary and Wexford) were in line with the national trend, showing increases in new building additions compared to 2011. The largest increase of 39% was in Galway, where 626 new buildings were identified.

The largest increase of 39% was in Galway, where 626 new buildings were identified GeoDirectory was jointly established by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland (OSi) to create and manage Ireland’s only complete database of commercial and residential buildings. The figures are recorded through a combination of the An Post network of 5,600 delivery staff working with OSi. Continuing the trend across 2012, the new 12

January/February 2013

data shows that 1,558 or 12% of this new commercial and residential stock are vacant. The data further indicates that 1,720 buildings across the country were under construction at the end of the year. In addition, there was a 25% year on year decrease in commercial buildings additions, with 1,245 recorded in 2012 compared to the 2011 figure of 1,661. Cork City and County recorded the largest number of additions for 2012, where 1,373 residential, 130 commercial and 40 dual-purpose buildings were completed during the year. In contrast, Clare recorded the lowest number of new additions with 2 buildings identified. Waterford recorded the largest year on year decrease of 42%, with 253 residential, 21 commercial and 15 dual-purpose properties completed in 2012, compared to figures in 2011 of 353, 105 and 12 respectively. Commenting on the figures, Dara Keogh, CEO, GeoDirectory said, “The end of year figures for 2012 highlight a small increase in building activity. The figures for 2012 and 2011 indicate a bottoming out of the downward curve, and a levelling off of the decrease in building activity. This positive trend is supported by growth in

new additions across fourteen counties, with Cork City and County recording the largest number of new buildings. This contrasts with the figures recorded for commercial buildings, highlighting a year on year decline of 25% in this sector, sustaining a downward trend in the number of new additions over the last five years, from a peak of 4,458 in 2007 to 1,245 buildings identified in 2012.” Key Highlights: • 12,541 new buildings recorded by GeoDirectory in 2012 bringing the total number of buildings in the Republic to 1,893,034 • 2% increase in new buildings additions compared to 2011 and 87% decrease compared to 2007 • Cork City and County recorded the largest number of new buildings (1,576) with Clare recording the smallest (2) • Waterford recorded the largest decrease in new buildings, with a year on year decline of 42%

www.irishconstruction.com


Calls for Funding Action

Infrastructure

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has said over 70,000 jobs could be created if the Government delivers on its projected spend on the Public Capital Programme and facilitates the funding of major projects from alternative sources

S

uch a move would address the current public infrastructure deficit in terms of education, health, enterprise and environment according to the CIC. In a new report, the Council noted that

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January/February 2013

infrastructure expenditure is currently 14 percent behind projected spend in the Public Capital Programme. In addition, the CIC calls on the Government to urgently implement alternative funding solutions,

especially the participation of pension funds in large-scale infrastructural investment. In light of the extremely challenging environment for financing otherwise viable building projects, the ClC

www.irishconstruction.com


pointed out its extreme frustration at the lack of progress on implementing alternative funding solutions. It noted that despite the fact that the idea of using pension funds to finance infrastructural projects was first mooted in 2009, nothing has happened to date. The Report recommends that the Government’s Expert Group, which has been researching alternative funding solutions, urgently completes its task and that the Government implements a funding solution for Irish infrastructure without delay. CIC Chairman and Chartered Surveyor, Derry Scully, said that much needed jobs and infrastructure would be provided if the Public Capital Programme was fully implemented. “Ireland has an oversupply of the wrong type of building in the wrong locations. At its peak the construction sector was twice the size it should have been, employing directly or indirectly 377,000 people. Now the sector employs just 138,000 people. By prioritising and delivering spending on delivering key infrastructure outlined in the Public Capital Programme, and accessing alternative funding, the Government could

“As we point out in the report there is no overall vision for what a healthy dynamic construction industry should look

As we point out in the report there is no overall vision for what a healthy dynamic construction industry should look like. Responsibilities and accountabilities are separated from each other within Government departments redress this imbalance, create employment, stimulate the economy and facilitate foreign direct investment” Scully said. The Construction Industry Council made the call in a new report entitled ‘Building our future together’. The CIC represents all the leading organisations involved in the construction sector in Ireland, including; Engineers Ireland, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland, the Construction Industry Federation, the Association of Consulting Engineers and the Building Materials Federation, which represent a combined total of approximately 50,000 members nationwide. The Council has also called for the appointment of a Chief Construction Adviser– reporting directly to a Government Minister– to take on overall responsibility for the strategic direction for the construction sector and to lead it back to stability.

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like. Responsibilities and accountabilities are separated from each other within Government departments, agencies and regulators with little coherence or connectivity between them. As a result decision-making for the sector remains disjointed and patchy. By way of contrast the agri-food sector has overcome many similar challenges under the stewardship of a Government Minister and support organisations like An Bord Bia and Teagasc. That’s what we need for the construction sector,” Scully said. The CIC also called on Government to implement these initiatives to ensure that the construction sector returns to a normal size for a country such as Ireland. “Based on the latest estimates of GNP for 2012, the optimum size of the industry is currently €18.7bn; however, the actual output is not expected to exceed €7.5bn”, said Scully. The Council also said that the professional skills within the Irish construction sector should be marketed

abroad as part of Ireland’s economic renewal. “Opportunities exist to develop a global construction services centre of excellence in Ireland for the design, finance, construction and management of projects. This could create a hub of the construction sector akin to what the IFSC achieved for the financial services sector. In many European countries up to 50% of total construction turnover is accounted for by exports. The market is there and we have key competitive advantages in the design, financing, management and construction of complex projects” Scully concluded.

Derry Scully, CIC Chairman and Chartered Surveyor

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It is not always easy to validate the ‘green’ credentials that companies claim. BES 6001 provides an independently assessed standard that demonstrates a specific level of sustainability performance as well as recognising companies that go beyond this level to enable some comparison. This is recognised in BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes, where credits are available for products that have been certified to BES 6001 and extra credits awarded for those that have achieved a very good or excellent rating. Specifying products that are certified to BES 6001 enables companies to demonstrate their own sustainability objectives and clearly show that the construction products that they are using can do the same. Tata Steel’s certification for Colorcoat® products means that you can now easily source a range of pre-finished steel that you can be confident has been sustainably sourced and manufactured.

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Construction Business Sentiment Improving

Industry Performance

The Irish construction sector continued to contract at the start of 2013, although rates of decline in activity, new orders and employment all eased during the month and business sentiment improved

M

eanwhile, the rate of input cost inflation slowed. The Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI®) – a seasonally adjusted index designed to track changes in total construction activity – posted 45.8 in January, signalling a further marked reduction in construction activity. However, the reading was higher than the 43.0 seen in December, and pointed to the weakest decline in activity since May 2012. Commenting on the survey, Simon Barry, Chief Economist Republic of Ireland at Ulster Bank, noted that: “the first reading of 2013 of the Ulster Bank Construction PMI indicates that the rate of deterioration in business conditions in the sector has eased slightly so far this year. While it remains the case that activity levels continue to decline, the pace of decline eased to its slowest since May 2012. Less negative trends were evident in the housing sector - where the PMI rose to its highest level in a year – and in commercial construction. However, civil engineering remains the weakest sub-sector, with the January survey picking up an acceleration in the rate of contraction in activity. A weak start to the year for Exchequer capital spending is probably a contributory factor here. “Similar to the trends in the overall PMI, the new orders index has crept up to levels last seen in the second quarter of last year. However, the index of new business flows remains below the key breakeven level of 50 so the less-negative trends here are not yet consistent with any near-term stabilisation for the sector. And it is the dearth of new work which remains a key obstacle to any improvement in employment, though the pace of decline in staffing levels did ease to its slowest pace since last February.” Civil engineering activity continues to fall sharply while slower reductions in activity seen on both residential and commercial projects during January. The weakest fall was in housing activity, which decreased at the slowest pace in a year. In contrast, the rate of contraction in civil

Dec’12 Jan’13

Latest Construction PMI® readings Total Activity Housing Activity Commercial Activity Civil Engineering Activity

43.0 45.8 41.3 35.2

45.8 46.5 44.8 34.4

Index readings above 50 signal an increase in activity on the previous month and reading below 50 signal a decrease. All indexes given above and displayed in the charts are seasonally adjusted. Source: Markit.

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engineering activity accelerated, and was much faster than that seen for overall construction activity. There was a slower reduction in new orders. Those respondents noting a drop in activity linked this to lower new business. That said, consistent with the trend for activity, new business decreased at a slower pace at the start of 2013. The rate of decline eased for the second month running, but was still solid. According to respondents, clients remained reluctant to commit to new projects. Job shedding is continuing, albeit at weaker pace. Lower workloads led constructors to reduce their employment again in January. Staffing levels have fallen in each month since May 2007. However, the rate of job cuts slowed and was the weakest in 11 months. Although input prices rose again in January, the rate of cost inflation slowed and was much weaker than the series average. Higher energy and fuel costs were signalled by respondents. Purchasing activity decreased at a marked pace during January, with panellists indicating that this reflected lower new business. That said, the rate of decline was the slowest since last September. In spite of lower demand for inputs, suppliers’ delivery times lengthened during the month. The latest deterioration was solid, and little-changed from those seen in recent months. Panellists reported that low stock levels at suppliers had been behind longer lead times. Business sentiment strengthens, with optimism at Irish construction firms improving at the start of 2013, and was the strongest since last June. Positive sentiment was linked by respondents to predictions of improving economic conditions.

www.irishconstruction.com


NAMA feeling confident

Investment

Among the highlights announced by NAMA in its 2012 end-year summary of progress made since its inception the generation of € 10.5 billion in cash flows is a significant achievement t is estimated that €6.9 billion of this relates to asset disposals and €3.6 billion to other income, mainly rental receipts from properties controlled by debtors and receivers.

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Commenting on NAMA’s performance in 2012, Chief Executive, Brendan McDonagh said:“the generation of €10.5 billion in cash in the 33 months since the first loans transferred to NAMA

reflects a strong performance in terms of asset disposals and also shows the importance for NAMA of capturing the rental income from assets under the control of debtors”. www.irishconstruction.com


Performance on a number of key targets during the year, in conjunction with growing indications that the Irish commercial and residential markets are stabilising, reinforces our confidence that we will achieve our ultimate objective of completing our work by 2020”. Looking at some of the detail and in May 2012, NAMA announced plans to invest at least €2 billion in Irish assets, in addition to the €500 million in advances for Irish assets approved prior to that date. This includes the completion of properties which are currently under development and the development of land in anticipation of future supply shortages and demand, particularly in the office sector. NAMA also established a dedicated Asset Management team whose brief includes the appraisal, financing and delivery of projects in Ireland and Britain. To date, NAMA has approved €1.7 billion in advances to debtors, of which over €1 billion has been drawn down. The timing of actual drawdowns in Ireland is dependent, for certain of the proposed projects, on resolution of planning matters

debtors and receivers as being available for social housing provision. The onus for determining the suitability of these units for social housing rests with the local authorities, which assess, in conjunction with the Housing Agency, the demand for identified houses and apartments. Demand has been confirmed by the local authorities for 1,484 of the properties that NAMA has made available and another 841 properties are being evaluated. The overall number of units potentially suitable, therefore, is 2,325. In order to expedite the allocation of suitable units to social housing, NAMA established a Special Purpose Vehicle in 2012 to acquire residential units from its debtors and receivers and to lease them directly to approved housing bodies. NAMA has also been engaging extensively with the Department of Education and Skills in relation to its requirements for school sites. NAMA has made over 17,000 individual credit decisions since inception, ranging from straightforward approvals for individual house sales through to highly complex and substantial applications.

NAMA has also been engaging extensively with the Department of Education and Skills in relation to its requirements for school sites

NAMA Chairman, Frank Daly, commented that, with €3.5 billion in Senior Bonds redeemed during the year, NAMA has made significant progress in 2012 towards repaying the debt it had incurred in acquiring its loan portfolio. “As we end 2012 with a healthy €3.6 billion in cash and with €4.75 billion redeemed to date, we remain firmly on course to meet our end-2013 Senior Bond redemption target of €7.5 billion.

www.irishconstruction.com

and a number of infrastructural issues with various local authorities. This will enhance the commercial viability of these projects. NAMA also announced in May 2012 that it would make €2 billion in vendor finance available to prospective buyers of commercial assets controlled by its debtors and receivers. In the context of a commercial property market where transactions were estimated to aggregate only €200 million in 2011, NAMA’s initiative represents a significant injection of liquidity. The first vendor finance transaction was completed during 2012 and a number of others are currently in the pipeline and nearing completion. Following a pilot over the summer months, the NAMA 80:20 Deferred Payment Initiative was launched in October in respect of an initial 295 houses in 12 counties nationally. To date, sales have been agreed on over 100 of these properties with an aggregate value in excess of €18 million. The initiative will be extended on a phased basis during 2013 up to a maximum of 750 properties. NAMA has also identified 3,879 residential properties controlled by its

The average turnaround time for credit decisions within NAMA is currently less than 5 days (NAMA works to a target turnaround time of 7 days). NAMA was involved in a number of high-profile court challenges in 2012, including: the challenge by Treasury Holdings to the Agency’s decision to appoint receivers to certain of its assets; and the challenge in the English High Court to the Agency’s decision to sell loans associated with the Maybourne Hotel Group. In May 2012, NAMA commenced proceedings against Treasury Holdings and its shareholders under Section 211 of the NAMA Act to reverse the TAIL transaction. Holtglen Limited was supported by NAMA in its Petition to the High Court to secure payment of sums due (€20.7m) pursuant to an Arbitration Award in 2011 and a High Court Order from March 2012. Payment was received in late December and the application subsequently withdrawn. It initiated a number of asset recovery proceedings in the US, Canada and other foreign jurisdictions. January/February 2013

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Health and Safety

Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Construction Regulations 2013 The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation published in late 2012 draft Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013 (the “Regulations”). The intention is to sign into law the Regulations by June 2013 Amongst the changes proposed in the regulations are the: • repeal, replacement and consolidation of existing legislation, including the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2006 to 2010; • reduction in regulatory burden for the construction industry by removing many short, low-risk construction activities from the requirements of the Regulations and reducing the obligation to create and maintain records; and • the creation of health and safety duties for residential property owners when certain types of construction works are carried out. The aim is to: • continue to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on construction sites; • reduce activity in the shadow economy through regulation; and • reduce infringements of health and safety. The Health and Safety Authority is carrying out a full and comprehensive www.irishconstruction.com

review of the Regulations in advance of their being signed into law, As part of that review it will examine the implications of low risk activities falling outside the ambit of the Regulations. The most significant change being introduced by the Regulations is that from June 2013 residential property owners carrying out construction works will need to: • ensure that all designers and contractors are competent to carry out their tasks. • appoint a Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP) or Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS) in situations where: the project involves a particular risk specified in the Regulations (e.g close to power lines, wells etc) and where the project involves more than one contractor or where the project will lasts longer than 30 working days or 500 person days. • produce to individuals carrying out future works the safety file which been provided to them by the PSDP. With a number of important reforms proposed and a tight deadline to be met,

these Regulations are certainly one to watch. While some of the proposals are to be welcomed, including the consolidation of various legislation and reducing the range of activities caught, the Regulations will have implications both for end users (particularly residential property owners) with new duties being imposed on them. The Regulations will also affect construction professionals, as it will expect them to carry out additional health and safety roles. Apart from the fact that many construction professionals are reluctant to take on these roles, there will also be cost, insurance and liability issues. It will be interesting to see how the Regulations shape the industry going forward and how works are to be carried out. Cassandra Byrne (FCIArb and Accredited Mediator), Senior Associate and Jarleth Heneghan (FRICS FSCSI FCIArb, MCIOB), Partner are both in the Projects and Construction Department at Irish law firm William Fry, Dublin, Ireland, www.williamfry.ie January/February 2013

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Property

Fitch's macro approach to Irish property "out of date"

The Fitch’s rating agency is being called on to look at how they compile their residential property briefings for Ireland in future as compiling a macro view of the Irish property market no longer holds water with Ireland now a series of localized markets

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his is the view of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). “It’s not accurate to present a macro picture for Ireland’s property market at present,” said CIF Director General Tom Parlon. “What we’re dealing with is a series of mini marketplaces. That’s why last year prices in places like Dublin, Cork and Galway as well as other urban areas were stabilizing at a rate that was completely at odds with what was

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happening in more rural residential markets. “The legacy from the Celtic Tiger days is that too much residential property was built in certain parts of the country. As you can see from the Government’s vacant housing report produced late last year, this was particularly pronounced in counties likes Cavan, Longford, Sligo, Roscommon and Leitrim. The vacancy levels in the National Housing Survey for these areas varied

from 17 – 35 per 1,000 households. “However we are starting to see a distinct shrinkage in the level of vacant housing in the more urban locations. Areas such as Waterford City, Limerick City, Galway City and Dublin City show vacant housing of only 2 – 7 per 1,000 households in these areas. “With that level of fluctuation between supply along with the increased level of demand that is manifesting in urban areas, www.irishconstruction.com


how does it make sense to produce an overall report for the residential market in Ireland? It is a flawed and irresponsible approach. It is damaging to some of the localized markets in Ireland at a critical time. What’s going to happen to the Dublin market this year will bear little relation to the market in places like Leitrim.

recent years the increased affordability of housing should also be factored into consideration,” Tom Parlon says. In its report on Government borrowing (issued January 11), Fitch is somewhat positive saying Ireland is another sovereign bucking the trend of lower gross borrowing and is set to increase its borrowing this year as

Recent high profile cases relating to building control issues range from defective materials such as pyrite to certification problems “We agree with the skepticism voiced by Minister Noonan on the report. He claimed that it was a “pretty ambiguous kind of assessment” and we believe that is fair comment. This country has learnt a lot since the Celtic Tiger years and one point is that the devil is in the detail. “The Fitch report speaks to the kind of catch all commentary that used to permeate Irish property analysis. That’s not good enough these days. It’s an out of date approach. This country requires more focused, more detailed information to be provided. For that reason we would urge Fitchs to reexamine the way they go about providing Irish residential property commentary in future.” “Proper analysis should also include the increase in mortgage lending that has been recorded during the last few months of 2012. It will also need to take into account the extra lending by Permanent TSB, which will increase the mortgage lending options available to potential purchasers. Obviously with prices having contracting significantly in www.irishconstruction.com

it returns to the bond market. This process gained momentum this week when Ireland priced a €2.5bn increase of its 5.5% October 2017 bond on 8 January to yield 3.316%. The debt sale is another step in the progress made towards regaining full market access. Fitch revised the Outlook on Ireland's 'BBB+' rating from Negative to Stable on 14

November 2012 - the first positive Eurozone sovereign rating action since 2009. Fitch expects Ireland to regain full market access by year-end, but this is not assured and vulnerable to an intensification of the eurozone crisis or worse than expected economic and fiscal outcomes. In mid-November, the ratings agency was saying that Ireland's growth prospects are sensitive to conditions in its main trading partners. Fitch's macroeconomic forecast of flat GDP in 2012 followed by the resumption of an export-driven recovery from mid-2013 is based on the assumption that the recession in the Eurozone, Ireland's major trading partner, proves to be shallow and short, followed by modest economic growth. The agency expects GDP growth in Ireland to reach 2% from 2014 as the drag on domestic demand stemming from the private sector deleveraging fades. Nevertheless, unemployment is expected to remain above 13% until 2014, declining only modestly from its current level of 15%.

January/February 2013

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The Irish Building and Design Awards 2013

Architecture ■ ■ ■

Categories

Architectural Project of the Year (Ireland) Architectural Project of the Year (International) Interior Architectural Project of the Year (Ireland or International)

Engineering ■ ■ ■

Sustainability Project of the Year (Ireland)

Project Management ■

Engineering Project of the Year (International)

■ ■

Water Infrastructure Project of the Year (Ireland) Infrastructure Project of the Year (International)

Schools ■

Construction/Project Management Firm of the Year

Contracting

Engineering Practice of the Year Engineering Project of the Year (Ireland)

Infrastructure & Civil Engineering ■

Sustainability

Contractor of the Year (Ireland) Contractor of the Year (International) Specialist Contractor of the Year (Ireland)

Specialist Contractor of the Year (International)

Categories nominated by CMG: ■

Chief Executive of the Year

School Building Project of the Year (Ireland)

School Building Project of the Year (International)

Sponsored by:

Commercial Media Group - Ground Floor Suite, Block C, Apex Building, Blackthorn Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18 Tel: +353 (0)1 293 3650 | Fax: +353 (0)1 293 3661 www.commercialmediagroup.ie


Infrastructure

Construction of € 370m Luas BXD Line gets start date Good news for the construction industry as it has been announced that work will start on the new Luas BXD line next year after Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar will now ask the National Transport Authority (NTA) and the Railway Procurement Agency (RPA) to prepare for work to start in May 2013 “This is an important step for the Luas BXD project, which will link up the existing Luas lines and give Dublin an integrated commuter rail network for the first time. Cabinet has discussed the business plan for Luas BXD, and I have now asked the NTA and RPA to proceed with the procurement and contractual arrangements which are necessary to allow the project to proceed in 2013,” Minister Varadkar said. “The two Luas lines should have been joined up years ago. It’s a privilege for me as Minister for Transport to be able to finish the job.” Minister Varadkar has informed Cabinet of his intention to approve arrangements for the construction of the LUAS BXD. The Minister’s decision is based on the project’s updated business case, and follows An Bord Pleanála’s decision earlier this year to grant a Railway Order which allows the line to be built. The project will cost €370 million and is likely to generate up to 800 jobs during the construction phase, with a further 60 permanent jobs. Funding for the project has been included in the Government’s www.irishconstruction.com

capital allocations under the Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016 plan, which gave priority to Luas BXD. Luas BXD is a key infrastructure project and firmly in keeping with the Programme for Government’s intention to rebalance transport policy in favour of public transport. The first stage of construction – the preconstruction enabling works – is due to start in May 2013 with the main construction works starting in 2015. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2017. Every effort will be made to minimise the impact of construction works on the business community, road users, pedestrians, and residents in the city centre area. An initial working group comprising the RPA, NTA and Dublin City Council has been established to develop traffic management arrangements during the construction phase. Luas Broombridge will be a key element in an integrated transport system for Dublin. It will create a Luas network by joining the two existing Red and Green lines, extending the network through the

city centre to Broombridge. The new line will also integrate with rail services on the Maynooth and Dunboyne lines as well as QBC cross city/city centre bus services. A new bridge over the River Liffey, which is currently under construction, will carry the southbound Luas track from Marlborough Street to Hawkins Street. When this landmark project is completed Dublin will finally have a truly integrated public transport system. The recently updated business case which takes account of the conditions attached to the Railway Order, changes to land and construction costs and to revised population and employment projections, concludes that there continues to be a strong transport and economic case for proceeding with the project. Other sectors of the regional economy are likely to benefit such as those in the construction material supply industry, plant hire and those providing technical support services (Architects, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors). Around 60 new permanent jobs will be created to support the ongoing operation and maintenance of the extended Luas network. January/February 2013

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Water Metering

Call to fast track rollout of water metering The Government to ensure that fair and balanced water charges apply from the start of the new scheme by fast tracking the installation of water meters this year

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ccording to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) this programme could help ensure a more balanced payment process while simultaneously removing people from the live register. This follows criticism by the European Commission on the progress of the water metering programme. The latest staff paper produced by the Commission is quoted as saying, “Concrete steps have been taken slowly. Among other things, progress towards the installation of water meters has lagged. The report also says, “The full roll out of meters is likely to take years and extend well beyond the scheduled date for the introduction of water charges, which will create additional difficulties regarding the pricing mechanism.” According to the CIF one way around these problems would be to speed up the

installation of water meters. “The Government is now facing criticism at home and abroad about the way the water metering programme is being established,” said CIF Director General Tom Parlon. “Domestic critics and the European Commission have already been highlighting problems with the way the rollout of the new water charges is being handled, with the initial unfair charges and the slow implementation of the programme being highlighted. “One way around these difficulties would be for the Government to fast track the installation of water meters all over the country. Under the current timeline it will take three years for the water meters to be

Under the current timeline it will take three years for the water meters to be installed on all households, while only 500,000 are expected to be in place by summer 2014 installed on all households, while only 500,000 are expected to be in place by summer 2014. Those timelines could be greatly reduced if a fast track programme was introduced. “With the current economic conditions the question often comes back to how such a system would be paid for. Fast tracking the water installation programme could actually help pay for itself. Speeding up this process would provide a strong source of employment for construction workers,

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helping to reduce the number of people on the live register. “Taking one single individual off the register would save at least €9,776 per annum. When you then factor in the additional income tax and PRSI revenue the Exchequer would receive from this person then it has benefits on both sides the equation. “It will also ensure that fair payments are put in place from the beginning of the new system. So that any water being used is paid for by those who are using it. Having the water meters in place will prevent thousands of households relying on unfair estimates for their water charges, a system which could

lead to severe criticism of the new scheme. Water metering brings transparency to the process so it is in the Government’s interests to get these meters installed as soon as possible. “We hope that the Government will take a serious look at this suggestion and we will be writing to the Minister and others involved in this process to encourage them to fast track the metering system,” Tom Parlon says. Pictures courtesy of Southern Water. www.irishconstruction.com


Water Investment

EIB Pump €200m into Irish Water Projects

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced a loan of some €200 million to support improvements in Ireland’s Water Services Investment Programme (WSIP) by financing 23 projects in Dublin and 10 counties around the country to provide new water mains, water and wastewater treatment facilities and reservoirs, as well as measures to improve water conservation

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inister for The Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD said: “I am delighted that the EIB has decided to support my Department’s Water Services Investment Programme with a loan of €200 million which will assist in funding 23 water projects. It is an indication of the Bank’s confidence in the Irish State and our recovery programme and is a good signal for securing third party financing in the future.” “A programme of water sector reform is currently underway in Ireland, which will see the responsibility for water services

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delivery moving from local authorities to a new public utility. This will fundamentally change the approach to funding capital investment in the sector in the years ahead including access to third party financing to address the considerable investment requirements of the sector. These reforms will benefit individual householders, but will also attract industries with high water usage like agri-food, pharma-chem and IT. With global demand for water due to rise by 40% in just 20 years, Ireland will be well positioned to attract foreign and indigenous investment, creating real potential for new jobs within

the country.” “Investment in the Irish water infrastructure will significantly enhance water conservation measures, improve drinking water quality and reduce risks of pollution. The European Investment Bank recognises the considerable challenges and investment needed in the sector and is pleased to provide the first EIB support for investment in water infrastructure in Ireland for over a decade.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President. A total of 23 individual projects included in the WSIP will benefit from the www.irishconstruction.com


EIB investment. The water investment initiative also includes replacement of over 300km of old water mains in Dublin City, South Tipperary, Galway and Limerick. In addition the project will increase drinking water supply through two new reservoirs in Kerry and North Tipperary.

Four of the projects relate to water conservation with the primary objective being to reduce water loss in the distribution networks. Seven of the projects relate to improvements in water supply infrastructure. A particular focus of investment in this area is addressing risks to

A total of 23 individual projects included in the WSIP will benefit from the EIB investment. The water investment initiative also includes replacement of over 300km of old water mains in Dublin City, South Tipperary, Galway and Limerick Waste water treatment will be enhanced through six new treatment plants in Kildare, North Tipperary, Kerry, Galway and Roscommon. Three local schemes will specifically ensure safe drinking water supply and 28km of new water mains will be laid in Kildare and 13km in Longford. RESPONSIBLE LOCAL AUTHORITY

Cork Co. Council Cork Co. Council Cork Co. Council Dublin City Dublin City

public health by the improvement of the quality and supply of drinking water. The remaining twelve projects relate to the improvement of wastewater infrastructure. Investment in this area supports compliance with statutory requirements and priorities identified in River Basin

PLANNED INVESTMENT

Bandon Sewerage scheme – network Clonakilty Sewerage scheme – WWTP upgrade Youghal Sewerage Scheme - WWTP and networks Dublin Region Watermains rehabilitation project Ringsend - Upgrade of Waste Water Treatment Plant in three phases, including improved performance of current plant, expansion of capacity and long sea outfall Fingal Co. Council Swords Upgrade of Waste Water Treatment Plant in Swords Galway Co. Council Claregalway and Milltown SS – WWTP and network Galway Co. Council Clifden SS – WWTP and network Galway Co. Council Costello water supply –treatment plant and networks Galway Co. Council Galway County Water Conservation – mains rehabilitation contracts (suite thereof) Kerry Co. Council Kerry Central Regional Water Supply Scheme – WTP and reservoir Kildare Ballymore Eustace Improved collection and treatment of sewerage in Ballymore Eustace (2 contracts) Kildare Barrow Abstraction Scheme involves the construction of a new water treatment plant at Srowland near Athy, which is currently under construction, these are associated network contracts. including the Srowland to Ardscull rising mains. Limerick Co. Council Kilmallock Waste Water Treatment Plant Limerick Co. Council Limerick countywide water conservation Limerick Co. Council Mungret Sewerage Scheme - network contract Limerick Co. Council Patrickswell Sewerage Scheme - network contract Longford Co. Council Longford Central Regional Water Supply – Civil Works Longford Co. Council Longford Towns and Villages Sewerage Scheme – Wastewater Treatment Plants North Tipperary Co. Council Thurles WTP and networks Roscommon Co. Council Boyle/Ardcarne Regional Water Supply Scheme Roscommon Co. Council North East Roscommon and Ballyleague Regional Water Supply Schemes WTP South Tipperary Fethard Water conservation – mains rehabilitation suite of contracts on Fethard WSS

www.irishconstruction.com

Management Plans (as required under the EU Water Framework Directive). The European Investment Bank will provide a 25 year loan and enable quicker implementation of the investment programme. As for all EIB Irish sovereign lending the loan is signed with National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) acting on behalf of the Irish state. Following agreement of the €200 million loan a first tranche of €100 million will support immediate investment and a second tranche will follow as the investment programme progresses. During 2012 the European Investment Bank provided €504m for long-term investment in Ireland. This included support for Irish schools, renewable investment projects and lending to small businesses. The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

Jonathan Taylor EIB Vice President

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Ecobuild Spotlight

Turning grey to green -

ECOBUILD

Since its launch in 2005, Ecobuild has almost doubled in size every year to become the biggest event in the world for sustainable design, construction and the built environment

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ombining a huge product showcase – more than 1,500 suppliers of sustainable and innovative construction products – with an information programme comprising more than 150 conference and seminar sessions, delivered by 750 expert speakers, plus dozens of interactive and educational attractions,

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Ecobuild is a compelling proposition for exhibitors and visitors alike. For exhibitors, it’s a trusted source of high quality contacts and access to the most valuable projects across the UK and further afield – Ecobuild 2012 delivered 57,956 senior buyers and business leaders from the building and construction industry.

Addressing the environmental impact of the world’s cities is top of the agenda at Ecobuild 2013, where significant investment has been made to impart best practice for design and management of the urban environment and more critically, where funding could be committed to support the vital skills required to make this step change. www.irishconstruction.com


Taking place from 5th to 7th March 2013 at London’s ExCeL, Ecobuild will launch several new features in support of this international agenda, including its ‘Working with Nature’ zone and the spectacular Ecobuild Arena. “Fundamental changes in the way we live, work and interact with the environment are vital if we are to continue driving forward sustainability across the design and construction industry and Ecobuild provides the perfect platform to educate, inspire and ultimately help fuel this important agenda”, said Tom Broughton, Brand Director for Ecobuild. In the ‘Working with Nature’ Zone, The Green Infrastructure Pavilion in association with DEFRA will bring together ministers, government officials and leaders from DECC, DEFRA, CIRIA as well as a wealth of industry chiefs to lead big debates, policy announcements and challenge future thinking. An important focus on planning will see chair Ian Phillips, Independent Chartered Landscape Architects and Town Planner joined by experts from The National Forest Company, Lockhart Garratt and Hertfordshire County Council.

provoking display that highlights the importance of sustainable green infrastructure in the built environment. Designed by landscape architect and Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal winner Patrick Collins, it takes its inspiration from the endless variety of vertical and horizontal surfaces that occur within cities and the

Mike Grace, Head of Sustainable Land Use at Natural England will chair a lively session on ‘Why invest in GI?’ alongside experts from South Yorkshire Forest Partnership, The Woodland Trust and The Land Trust. Back by popular demand, The Ecobuild Arena returns to the show floor. At its heart will be a theatre featuring a cutting-edge programme of high level discussion and debate covering everything from the Green Deal to Climate Change, from Greening our Cities to Reinventing the High Street. The Arena landscape is a thought

limitless potential that these offer for the greening of the urban landscape. Check out Ecobuild’s Facebook page for the latest Ecobuild Arena image gallery – http://www.facebook.com/ecobuildnow. With more people than ever before living in urban rather than rural environments, the Arena landscape explores ways of connecting city dwellers with nature and the benefits that this can bring. Based on current thinking it demonstrates methods of enhancing biodiversity and encouraging nature in the city.

www.irishconstruction.com

According to DEFRA, £458.9 million of UK public sector funding was spent on UK biodiversity during 2010/11. In support of this work, the ever popular Biodiversity Pavilion returns to Ecobuild. Industry leaders such as CIRIA, RESET Developments, Livingroofs.org, British Beekeeper’s Association, Trees for Cities, Bat Conservation Trust, Wildflower Turf Ltd and Habitat Aid, will cover hot topics such as ‘Biodiverse habitats on and in commercial buildings’, ‘Supporting biodiversity through Green Infrastructure and onsite water management’, ‘Establishing a wildflower meadow - biodiversity wins gold at the Olympics!’ and case studies from the housing sector on ways communities are working with nature to improve local green space. A Natural, Sustainable area will focus on practical, sustainable solutions to design, specification and development, working with natural sustainable materials. Visitors Check out hands-on demonstrations of construction with straw bale, rammed earth and chalk, timber, clay, lime and cob and talk to suppliers and training organisations supporting this emerging area of the low carbon construction industry.

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Leander or meander? Update on Implied Terms

Legal Focus

The leading UK High Court decision in Leander Construction Limited v Mulalley & Company Limited examined the circumstances where it is appropriate to imply a term into a sub-contract requiring a sub-contractor to proceed with its works regularly and diligently. The case also examined as an aside the issue of adjudication in sub-contracts

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n this instance, the sub-contract (which related to ground and drainage works) contained an activity schedule setting out a programme with interim completion dates. Concerned at the sub-contractor’s failure to reach these interim completion dates, and the potential for future delays and loss, the contractor served two withholding notices against monies owned under the subcontract. A failure to “proceed with the Sub-Contract Works regularly and diligently” constituted grounds for termination of the sub-contract. However, there was no express positive obligation on the sub-contractor to so proceed. In the absence of an express contractual obligation, the contractor argued that there was an implied term in the sub-contract obliging the claimant to proceed “regularly and diligently” and that this term had been breached. The contractor sought damages for the interim delays arising from this breach. The sub-contractor in defence argued that there was no such implied term of such sub-contract and that the payment withholding notices were also invalid. The Court referred to a well-established body of law in relation to implied contractual terms. It noted, that in order to imply a term, it must be “necessary to give business efficacy to the (sub-)contract”. It was decided that the contractor had “not come close to demonstrating that the alleged term [was] necessary to make the contract work”. In addition, there was a reluctance to impose such implied terms upon contractors or subcontractors where there was an overall obligation to complete works by certain dates. The Court refused to imply the term being sought by the contractor and the withholding notices of monies due under the sub-contract were deemed to be invalid. The Court described the contractor as having

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failed in “the ambitious undertaking “of demonstrating the need for the implied term as a matter of business efficacy. It was noted that the courts are generally slow to imply terms into a contract, particularly where, as here, there are already detailed terms and conditions. The contractor was ordered to pay the outstanding sum to the sub-contractor. Whilst not binding in Ireland, this case is of persuasive authority in cases where performance related issues arise. Irish law, like its UK counterpart, is well-established on implied terms in contracts. The key point here is the importance of being satisfied that appropriate performance requirements and obligations are expressly noted to reflect parties’ intentions. This case also addressed the presence of a Tolent clause in the sub-contract which had persuaded the contractor to litigate the dispute in court, rather than submit it to adjudication as provided in the sub-contract. Tolent clauses provide that the party serving

In this case, the first to be decided upon since the 2009 legislation, the Court noted that now such a clause would be automatically deemed invalid. It was also noted that there had been previous judicial recognition that such clauses had the effect of “discouraging a party from exercising its right to refer disputes to adjudication”. Draft legislation has been introduced in Ireland which, if passed, will address payment issues in construction contracts through adjudication – the Construction Contracts Bill 2010. The current draft Bill broadly follows the UK approach, in that each party must bear its own legal costs incurred in connection with the adjudication. The parties must then pay the amount of fees, costs and expenses of the adjudicator in accordance with the decision. So it would seem for now that the draft Irish legislation follows the UK approach to outlawing Tolent clauses, thus freeing up access to adjudication procedures.

It was noted that the courts are generally slow to imply terms into a contract, particularly where there are already detailed terms and conditions the contractual dispute notice should bear all of the costs of both parties incurred by the adjudication, regardless of the outcome. Adjudication is a form of statutorily-based ADR which has been prevalent in the UK over the last twenty years in relation to construction contract payment disputes. UK Legislation was introduced in 2009 which provided that Tolent clauses are ineffective unless they are made in writing after the giving of notice of intention to refer the dispute to adjudication.

Observations in cases such as this in Leander Construction Limited v Mulalley & Company Limited regarding to adjudication costs and Tolent clauses, will arguably shape the case-law which emerges on this area when the legislation is introduced here. Cassandra Byrne (FCIArb and Accredited Mediator), Senior Associate and Jarleth Heneghan (FRICS FSCSI FCIArb, MCIOB), Partner are both in the Projects and Construction Department at Irish law firm William Fry, Dublin, Ireland, www.williamfry.ie www.irishconstruction.com


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Building Costs

Case Study: Office Market Options The commercial market is one of the few sectors where the construction industry is experiencing some real activity. There are a number of factors contributing to this and these inevitably have to do with supply and demand. As we have all seen and heard, IDA Ireland is doing well in attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the face of stiff competition from other countries. These business wins, whilst across a range of sectors, have generated good demand for office accommodation for business services enterprises establishing here. Primarily in Dublin, this demand is typically for small unit sizes between 5,000 -10,000 square feet. Added to these multiple small let requirements there are also a number of high-profitable organisations in the market for large lets. On the supply side, vacancy rates are dropping in Dublin generally and are in mid-teen percentages in Dublin 2. This combined with a shortage of large prime office accommodation in the city centre, means that there is the potential for continued activity in the sector. Whether that activity is likely to be new build or refurbishment will be largely dependent on the demand. In the short term, it is likely that demand will continue to be for short-term flexible leases, thus refurbishment of existing space will probably represent the best balance of risk and return for developers plus a quicker delivery of space to the market and income generation. However, in the mediumterm, and possibly sooner for potential owner occupiers, there is likely to be more favourable conditionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s to support new build as a real option. Below we have summarised the principle refurbishment options for owners or developers, with indicative benchmark costs per square feet based on a medium size office refurbishment.

Article written by TomĂĄs Kelly, Davis Langdon, an AECOM Company. This Office Cost Model will feature in the Davis Langdon Annual Review 2013

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Commercial Property

Positive sentiments Property consultants CBRE are bullish about the prospects for prime property in 2013 considering the weight of demand from a range of international investors for opportunities in the Irish market, they are more sanguine about prospects for secondary and provincial properties which they say will take longer to unwind

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BREâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s maintain that properties will continue to come to the market on a relatively controlled basis over the course of 2013 with the deleveraging process continuing but at a continued slow pace. There will be more loan sales activity in 2013 as banks continue to deleverage their property holdings, while we could also see the disposal of some of the underlying securities that were sold by way of loan sales during 2012. They also say that international investors will continue to focus their attention on prime office, retail and residential portfolio opportunities, primarily those in core locations in Dublin while domestic investors will be the most dominant purchasers of secondary and provincial investments, some of which are likely to continue to experience further outward yield shift over the course of 2013 considering the likely depth of cash buyers. In contrast, the weight of money chasing prime investment opportunities in the Irish market has the potential to generate some further yield compression in the office and retail sectors during 2013 despite the fact that short term rental growth projections remain relatively flat. Many international investors in the investment and hotel sectors have the potential to bring funding with them from outside the

to this position in prime locations in Dublin 2/4 but speculative development is not on the horizon for secondary and provincial office locations at this point. CBRE also state that with ever-increasing volumes of retail business being conducted online, Irish retailers are expected to focus considerable effort in 2013 on developing their

An increase in the number of refurbishment projects is expected this year but no new speculative office development is expected to commence in 2013 jurisdiction which will be a significant boost for liquidity in the Irish market The property experts go on to say that there is potential for some limited rental growth to emerge at the prime end of the office and retail sectors in 2013 although for the most part, rents are likely to remain relatively stable over the course of the next 12 months. The level of incentives such as rent free periods for prime buildings could move in a little as the year progresses. An increase in the number of refurbishment projects is expected this year but no new speculative office development is expected to commence in 2013 on the basis that rental and capital values are not yet at a level which would render development viable. We are getting closer

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online and multi-channel offer. In addition, some international buyers could emerge for strategic sites in Dublin that offer the potential for office and/or residential development in the medium term. Their view on hotel property is that more will be being brought to the market and some of the NAMA banks will also start to offload hotel properties. There is likely to be a notable increase in the volume of pub properties being offered for sale over the course of 2013 with the buyers for these properties being predominantly local. Fewer hotel properties are expected to go into receivership this year although there is likely to be an escalation in the number of enforcements in the pub sector. The one area where costs have not rebased is commercial rates

and this is likely to be the focus on more attention than rental costs during 2013. According to Marie Hunt, Executive Director and Head of Research at CBRE â&#x20AC;&#x153;A busy year is in prospect in the Irish commercial property sector in 2013 as the wreckage is cleared away and we move into a recovery phase for the economy and in turn for the property market. However, the prospects for prime property are considerably better than secondary with increased polarisation likely to be a key trend in 2013â&#x20AC;?.

Marie Hunt Executive Director and Head of Research at CBRE www.irishconstruction.com


Infrastructure

Construction makes up for 25% of corporate insolvencies in 2012 Company directors in the construction industry need to know the legal duties and responsibilities of their role, especially in times of difficulty. Failure to do so can have serious consequences, writes Maura Quinn, Chief Executive of the Institute of Directors in Ireland

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onstruction industry insolvencies accounted for 25% of the 1,684 corporate insolvencies in Ireland in 2012 according to figures by InsolvencyJournal.ie, released earlier this month. While this represents a 1.4% drop in the rate of failures compared to 2011, the figure still remains worryingly high. A company is deemed to be insolvent when it is unable to pay its debts as they fall due and for directors of companies facing this situation, the legal responsibilities and actions required can be substantial. In terms of Directors’ legal duties, when a company is solvent, directors must act in the interests of its shareholders. However, when a company is insolvent the position

prove that they took every possible step to minimise the potential loss to the company’s creditors and they must be seen to have actively done this. A director should never allow a company to accept credit if there is no reasonable expectation of the creditor being paid when the debt becomes due. Any director who knowingly does so could be guilty of fraudulent trading. To minimise the risk of liability it is important to follow these steps: monitor the financial position of the company – Directors should regularly review the company’s financial position and keep themselves informed of its performance and prospects. Individual directors should raise any concerns over solvency with the board

Under insolvency legislation, a director is personally liable for reckless trading if a liquidator can show that they knew or ought to have known that there was no reasonable prospect of avoiding liquidation changes and the interests of creditors come first. Under insolvency legislation, a director is personally liable for reckless trading if a liquidator can show that they knew or ought to have known that there was no reasonable prospect of avoiding liquidation, but yet continued to operate the business as normal. Directors in the construction industry can protect themselves from this liability if they can www.irishconstruction.com

as a whole. If their fears are not heeded, they should repeat them, in writing, and take steps to protect their own position. Take advice – Directors must act responsibly and should consult with professional independent legal and financial advisers who can offer appropriate advice. Accurate and up-to-date information, along with access to financial and legal advice

from appropriately qualified professionals, will significantly strengthen a director’s position in the event of a court hearing. Formulate a viable strategy – If the company has prospects, the board should formulate a strategy to restore it to a healthy financial position and avoid formal insolvency proceedings. This could mean the introduction of alternative trading strategies, disposal of assets, cutting overheads or converting debt to equity. The chosen strategy must be a viable solution and have the full support of the board. Hold regular meetings – Board meetings should be held regularly and detailed minutes should be taken and circulated. Additional meetings should be held as and when significant events occur. Involve all directors – While the role of the finance director is key in this situation, all directors should be involved in any decisions made. Non-executive directors on the board will be best placed to objectively assess whether a company is able to continue trading or whether it can justify incurring fresh liabilities. Keep major creditors informed – It is important to keep major creditors, such as lending banks, informed of the company’s circumstances and of any strategies that may need their support. In today’s difficult trading environment it is vital that company directors not only understand but also implement their legal duties. Failure to do so can have serious consequences. To find out more visit www.iodireland.ie January/February 2013

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Business Focus

Strategic Focus Pays Dividends As an excellent example of determination and vision resulting in success, Irish Construction Industry looks at Irish engineering consultancy, Fehily Timoney & Company, which successfully turned its business around with a strategic focus on the Middle East. This is paying significant dividends with a series of recent contract wins worth approximately € 2.5M to the business Eamon Timoney

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he company is now in the process of hiring an additional 11 people to work on new projects in the domestic market, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The largest of these projects is the Jeddah Environmental & Social Master Plan in Saudi Arabia. This is a €10M high profile project covering a 150km x 50km area of the city of Jeddah and its environs. Fehily Timoney has also successfully tendered for six other high profile projects in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, cementing its position in the Middle East market. Two years ago, Managing Director, Eamon Timoney took the bold decision to relocate to Al Khobar in eastern Saudi Arabia in order to tap into new markets as part of a survival strategy for the business. During the construction boom here in Ireland, the company benefited from the state’s capital programme and was involved in a number of high profile infrastructure projects. However, in 2009 it became clear that a new business strategy was urgently required in order to secure the future of the business. Fehily Timoney successfully partnered with Enterprise Ireland to help them tap into new international markets. Assistance provided by Enterprise Ireland proved invaluable in helping as a ‘door opener’ for the company’s new strategic direction. Fehily Timoney’s focus on the Middle East is proving extremely successful with approximately 30% of the company’s 2013 revenue expected to come from its Middle East projects. With plans to expand its workforce in the coming months, the future looks bright for the Irish engineering consultancy. Managing Director, Eamon Timoney describes the challenges faced by the

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business a mere four years ago. “As a senior management team, we faced some stark choices back in 2009. We realised that we simply had to refocus the strategic direction of the business and look outside of Ireland to new markets, or else face the very real prospect of our business failing due to the impact of the economic downturn. We partnered with Enterprise Ireland in order to help us focus on the Middle Eastern market, in particular. Their insight and intelligence gathering assisted us in our efforts to successfully open the door to new markets”. “With offices in Dublin, Cork, Poland and Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia, we currently have 16 people working on Middle East projects out of a total head count of 78.

Since last September we have recruited nine new people and we’re planning to recruit another 11 people in the next couple of months. Things are definitely looking up for our business and we have worked very hard to achieve that success. Our new recruits will help service our national and international projects in the coming 12 months and beyond”, concluded Mr. Timoney. Founded in 1990, Fehily Timoney & Company is one of Ireland’s largest Irishowned independent consultancies. The company delivers projects in Ireland and internationally across core competency areas of waste management, environment, renewable energy and civil infrastructure.

Declan Duff, a Fehily Timoney scientist, inspecting an air quality monitoring station near the historic centre of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. www.irishconstruction.com


Sustainable Building

Benchmarking Energy Efficiency

Sustainable construction is a term that is commonly used. It has been defined as reducing the environmental footprint of a building while optimising its economic viability and providing quality of life for building occupants

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n order to establish environmental sustainability benchmarks many public and private sector organisations choose an environmental assessment methodology for their building stock. Environmental assessment methodologies can take a holistic

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approach to sustainability within the built environment and assess impacts such as energy use, indoor air quality, ecology etc. BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) is one such environmental assessment

methodology. BREEAM sets the standard for best practice in sustainable building design, construction and operation and has become one of the most comprehensive and widely recognised measures of a building's environmental performance.

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It is currently the world’s foremost environmental methodology and rating system for buildings with over 245,000 buildings been certified in over 50 countries. BREEAM has been used on many public sector funded projects in Ireland to include Governmental offices in Wexford and Roscommon, Healthcare projects include the Mater Hospital in Dublin and more recently set as a requirement for the Health Service Executive for the new national

The Environmental Issues covered are: • Management • Health & Wellbeing • Energy • Transport • Water • Materials • Waste • Land Use & Ecology • Pollution • Innovation

forensic mental health service facility. It is mandatory for all new buildings and major refurbishment within the UK Governments Estate (Including Northern Ireland), for example all Healthcare and Higher Educational facilities come with a prerequisite of a BREEAM Excellent rating. The scope of BREEAM is highly flexible and covers all building types from New Construction, Existing Buildings, Refurbishment Projects along with certifying the sustainability of Developments at a Neighbourhood Scale. A BREEAM assessment uses recognised measures of performance, which are set against established benchmarks, to evaluate a building’s specification, design, construction and use under a number of environmental issues. Environmental issues are spread over ten categories and measured according to their environmental impact. Credits are awarded in each category and added together to produce a single overall score on a scale of Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.

In addition, BREEAM also awards additional “innovation credits” for projects that go beyond what is deemed good practice in a number of environmental issues. BREEAM has been adapted to suit local conditions in a number of countries; these include United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Each adaption is called a “Scheme”, e.g. in the United Kingdom, the BREEAM scheme used is BREEAM 2011. All countries which do not have a specific scheme are covered under BREEAM International, Ireland is one such country. The BREEAM process is straight forward and begins with a project being registered under the relevant scheme e.g. an office development in Ireland should be registered under BREEAM Europe Commercial, which is part of the BREEAM International scheme. Once registered, the project can proceed to the assessment process. The process can have two stages, design stage which leads to an interim BREEAM certificate and post construction

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stage which leads to a final BREEAM certificate. The design stage assessment and consequent Interim Certificate represents the performance of the building against the BREEAM requirements up to the start of construction on the site with the post construction assessment and subsequent BREEAM Certificate representing the final “as built” performance and BREEAM rating. It is possible to undertake a post construction assessment without undertaking a design stage assessment by simply auditing information provided at post construction stage, however this should be avoided where possible as the opportunity to optimise credit selection against costs is lost, in addition the awarding of certain credits may be impossible at post construction and may lead to limitations on the level of rating available. BREEAM – Supply, Demand and the Value of Green Buildings. It is estimated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in the UK that as of June 2011, BREEAM-certified space encompasses 5.8 million square meters of UK office space, translating to approximately 30% of new floor space. This is this is partially due to legislative focus on the energy performance of buildings but also an increased requirement of sustainability through corporate, social and responsibility polices of corporations which ensures that sustainability is a key driver in the commercial property market.

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A report carried out by CBRE in the UK found that evidence on rental transactions indicated that green buildings can achieve a rental premium over those which are not considered as green. The commercial property market in Ireland is also realising the value of green buildings with a number of recent high profile developments attaining a BREEAM rating, multinational financial corporation “State Street” occupies a BREEAN very good rated building on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin and over 40,000 square meters of commercial space located adjacent to the Bord Gais theatre in Dublin 2 has attained a BREEAM rating of excellent.

BREEAM has been used on many public sector funded projects in Ireland to include Governmental offices in Wexford and Roscommon and Healthcare projects such as the Mater Hospital in Dublin Putting a cost on Sustainability and in particular achieving an appropriate BREEAM rating is very much dependant on the brief, site selection etc. A building located on a remote site offering poor transport links and services will require uplift in credits elsewhere to account for reduced credits due to site selection, alternatively a building located on a site providing excellent links to public transport and services may require reduced credit selection elsewhere and as a result reduce the

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build costs. However site costs tend to be higher in areas provided with good transport links and services than those that don’t. A UK based study undertaken by Building Research Establishment and Cyril Sweett in 2004 found that subject to certain conditions, a new building can achieve a midrange BREEAM rating for less than 2% additional capital cost, however a more recent report by CBRE suggests that achieving a higher rating could add between 5 and 7.5% to construction costs. These costs could be offset against the return of investment offered by higher rental rates associated with green buildings or the market benefits to a company for integrating

BREEAM into their corporate, social and responsibility polices.In conclusion, BREEAM not only helps to establish environmental sustainability benchmarks but also can act as a driver for sustainable construction in both the private and public sectors. In order to optimise a BREEAM rating against construction costs, BREEAM should be integrated early on in the design process as “BREEAM ratings are won or lost in the first 10% of the design phase,” - Mott MacDonald Technical Director Eddie Murphy, this is particularly important in the design and build procurement process where a certain amount of design has been carried out prior to the project being tendered.

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Technical

Groundforce Delivers the Goods on Northern Ireland Rail Project Groundforce has supplied a comprehensive range of specialist shoring, piling and pumping equipment to BAM Rail/FP McCann Joint Venture for use during the reconstruction of a rail bridge in Northern Ireland

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he job is part of the contractor’s £17 million contract to upgrade the railway line between Derry and Coleraine in Northern Ireland for public transport provider Translink. The contract is itself part of a wider scheme to improve communications to and from Derry which this year is designated “UK City of Culture”. Groundforce was employed to help build a cofferdam at the Pier end of Pottagh Bridge, which carries the railway over the Articlave river between Coleraine and Castlerock, to enable the construction of new Pier substructure supporting seven pre-cast concrete bridge beams. “We chose Groundforce because they came up with the best package solution They provided a detailed temporary works design as well as providing a comprehensive range of equipment” comments Derek Walsh Project Manager with BAM Rail/McCann JV. “Availability was a major consideration. Groundforce offered a one-stop-shop and was able to deliver immediately” he adds. Following completion of the temporary works design, Groundforce assessed the ground conditions and found that they were extremely poor and that water ingress was a major obstacle given the tidal nature of the river.

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Groundforce specified excavations measuring 7 m x 3 m and 3.2 m deep and calculated that to ensure lateral stability and minimise flooding, the walls should comprise its Groundforce Interlocking (GFI) trench sheets supported with three levels of hydraulic frames. The GFI trench sheet incorporates an interlocking ‘clutch’ running along its length so that every sheet locks into its neighbour to create a strong, leak-resistant joint. Approximately 40 sheet piles, each 6 m in length were used to line each cofferdam. They were toed-in to 1.5 m below formation with an upstand of 1.3 m above ground level. To withstand variable lateral loads caused by a combination of weak soil and varying water levels, Groundforce installed a doubleacting Manhole brace at the top with more robust hydraulic Maxi-Brace frames at intermediate and lower levels. A Muller MS4 excavator mounted piling hammer was used to drive the piles, while Groundforce’s unique Vibrosafe quick hitch adaptor was fitted to the excavator to allow quick change-over from hammer to bucket and vice-versa. The VibroSafe adaptor is unique to Groundforce and was developed in association with excavator attachment manufacturer

Miller UK. It is currently the only purposedesigned adaptor for vibrating hammers to be CE-marked and approved by a hammer manufacturer. Groundforce also supplied a Type 2.5 Taets square pile breaker used to break caps on approximately eight square concrete piles previously driven inside each excavation to support the concrete base slab. Despite the use of GFI pile sheets, water inevitably finds its way into such an excavation and this had to be pumped out continuously to allow working inside the cofferdams. “We used one of our Shorflo 4” Super Silent Diesel pumps for de-watering” comments Ruairi O’Neill, Groundforce technical sales representative for Northern Ireland. “It’s extremely quiet, but more important, it has a unique rotor design which reduces fuel consumption by up to 80 per cent compared with a competitor’s equivalent diesel pump” adds Ruairi. Capable of pumping 47 litres/second, this machine can run continuously for 180 hours before refuelling. The extensive engineering project also includes the installation of new drainage and Groundforce has also supplied more than 230 eight-metre Larssen L604 sheet piles further down the track at Umbra where large diameter concrete pipes have been installed to divert a water course. The project is due for completion in May 2013. January/February 2013

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Specifier DURÉLIS VapourBlock: Airtightness and vapour control structural board Delivering higher levels of airtightness is central to realising low energy or Passivhaus levels of energy performance in buildings. This can be attained using a range of materials depending on the construction type, namely, a continuously sealed vapour control layer, a continuous plaster layer directly applied to a masonry wall or an airtight structural board, such DURÉLIS VapourBlock. A structural board has the advantage that it fulfils 3 primary requirements in one step, namely: 1. Vapour control, 2. Structural requirements, 3. Airtightness Up until recently it was generally accepted that taped and sealed 18mm OSB3 was a reliable airtightness layer, with which one could attain the stringent Passivhaus criteria for airtightness of less than 0.6 Air Changes Per Hour at 50 Pascal. Experience on site coupled with a study by the Building Physics Laboratory at the K.U. Leuven showed that OSB panels on their own are not always adequately airtight. It concluded that, if the manufacturer of the panel cannot provide an airtightness guarantee, an allowance must be made for significant air leakage directly through the panels themselves.

Niall Crosson, Engineer with Ecological Building Systems states that, “When dealing with Passivhaus levels of airtightness, there is no room for compromise. Based on our own experience and feedback from contractors on a number of sites, some projects failed to meet their airtightness requirements due to unforeseen air leakage through OSB, even 18mm thick. Of course it is critical that the joints and penetrations in these boards are sealed to a high standard, but if air leakage occurs directly though the board this can add significant complications and costs to a project. With DURÉLIS VapourBlock specifiers and contractors can be assured the boards will provide a consistent airtight layer to the highest industrial standards.” DURÉLIS VapourBlock is a 12mm, 2400 x 1200mm high density chipboard with a factory fitted transparent airtightness and vapour control layer, TOPFINISH, on one side. This surface applied finish guarantees consistent airtightness and vapour control. VapourBlock is for internal use. It is classified as a structural board which is suitable for use in humid conditions (P5) equivalent to OSB3. To confirm the exceptional durability of the boards, DURÉLIS VapourBlock meets the

specifications of EN 312, P5, option 1, cyclic test, in which the board is immersed in water, frozen and finally dried. This cycle is repeated 3 times, after which the test specimens are tested for swelling and internal bond strength. The board is CE marked and production quality is checked daily. DURÉLIS VapourBlock is manufactured to the highest quality standards to comply with ISO 9001. DURÉLIS VapourBlock is now available from Ecological Building Systems.

For further information contact: Niall Crosson, Technical Engineer, Ecological Building Systems. 046 94 32104/0874103115; niallcrosson @ecologicalbuildingsystems.com

www.ecologicalbuildingsystems.com

Portakabin Allspace lands prestigious pharmaceutical project thanks to ‘superior’ Titan building ‘A superior product in terms of robust structure, range of sizes, and quality of finish externally and internally’ were just some of the reasons why multi-national pharmaceutical firm, Servier, opted for the Portakabin Titan building during recent extension works at its Irish plant. Garret Murphy, Project Manager, Servier Ireland Industries says: "We were carrying out an extension to our site department offices in our Arklow facility and required interim accommodation for the staff during the construction works. We have used interim accommodation on site before and therefore had a clear insight into our requirements of our staff. Having reviewed various office systems on the market, we found the Portakabin Titan building to be a superior product in terms of its robust structure and quality of design and finish both internally and

externally and, therefore, stood out as the most suitable". Mike Sheedy, National Hire Manager with Portakabin Allspace, points out some of the key design specifications of the Portakabin Titan building. “With a width of some 4 metres, spacious ceiling heights of 2.5 metres, one-step access and floor areas of up to 67m2 and 18 metres in length, the Portakabin Titan building is the largest self-contained building in Europe available for delivery by road as a single unit. This office, classroom or flexible workspace can be craned into position within a day, providing immediate, spacious working environments for up to 18 people. The Portakabin Titan building’s flexibility also means the interior can be configured to suit the individual needs of the customer. In addition, we can offer glazed designs and can incorporate solar panels to enhance its

excellent sustainable performance. Aside from all of these design and performance features, our customers also tell us that the Portakabin Titan building provides a high-value asset with striking visual appeal.” Garret Murphy adds: "the range of sizes available were important as they gave our business more flexibility in determining the location for the accommodation on-site while enabling us to be far more practical in-terms of relocating the various staff sectors within the department. I also found the knowledge and experience of the Portakabin Allspace sales and design team very helpful in determining the best system to suit our needs. Their understanding of our requirements and their professionalism in achieving these needs really impressed us.”

W: www.allspace.ie

O’Riordan Sheds choose Fortex® to clad range of Sheds, Outbuildings and Home Offices O’Riordan Sheds, a leading fabricator of sheds and related products in the South West, has chosen Fortex® textured cladding to clad a range of its sheds, outbuildings and home offices. The Fortex range of cladding products is manufactured by Freefoam, a leading manufacturer of innovative products for the building industry in Ireland, the UK and Mainland Europe. Fortex® has an attractive textured effect and comes in a range of standard and bespoke colours. The range includes exterior cladding systems available in single, weatherboard and double plank formats. The double plank product makes installation even easier and quicker than normal. Fortex requires little maintenance once installed which is a major benefit for the owners of residential and mobile homes, sheds and commercial

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buildings. Finally, Fortex comes with significant environmental credentials with the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) ‘Green Guide To Specification’ giving PVC cladding an A+ rating when installed with standard components. Maurice O’Riordan, Managing Director, comments: “Fortex® is a perfect alternative to timber for a wide range of exterior cladding applications due to its textured surface and the fact that it is very low maintenance. The wide range of colours to choose from adds significantly to the attractiveness of the product. It’s also quick and easy to install which speeds up the fabrication process for us. Overall, we’re very happy with the product and plan to continue using it for many years to come.”

For further information please contact: Freefoam Plastics T: (021)496-6311 E: info@freefoam.com W: www.freefoam.com

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Specifier Large Spans Of Technal Curtain Walling Help To Create ‘Invisible Walls’ For New State-Of-The-Art Leisure Centre A new state-of-the-art leisure centre in Bristol designed by LA Architects features extensive use of Technal’s aluminium curtain walling to help create a vibrant new facility and encourage more local people to participate in sport and physical activity. The privately financed project is also one of the first centres in the UK with a 50m swimming pool to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating. Operated by Parkwood Leisure for Bristol City Council, the £35m Hengrove Park Leisure Centre was built by Kier

Technal worked closely with LA Architects and specialist fabricator Glassolutions Installation from the earliest design stages to develop the specification for the curtain walling. The slim 50mm profile of the GEODE-MX Visible Grid system met the architects’ requirements for thin sections which were sufficiently robust to carry the heavy glass units, some of which are laminated and toughened, and span up to 2.75m by 2.2m. Commenting on the curtain walling specification, Manolis Datseris, Project Architect at LA Architects, said, “We have

Construction on the site of a former airport. Its facilities include a 10-lane, 50m international-standard swimming pool, a 20m teaching pool, sports hall, a dedicated spin studio, climbing wall, a 150-station fitness gym, two group exercise studios, a healthy living centre, sauna, steam room, café and crèche. The architectural design of the scheme features large areas of curtain walling to give the impression of ‘invisible walls’ – allowing unobstructed views from the interior looking out on to the landscaped central plaza, and greater visibility from the outside of the pool and activities inside the centre. The glazed façades also provide high levels of natural light and a good night time appearance for the building.

used Technal’s systems on other projects, which we have been very happy with so their products were a logical choice for this scheme. We wanted to achieve a crisp, sharp edge to the curtain walling here and to create a building that is filled with light. Our aim was to bring the landscaped plaza inside the centre by having perimeter walls that are almost transparent, giving a greater feeling of space. We are very happy with the finished effect and the glazing systems are performing well.” The GEODE-MX curtain walling was specified for the three elevations that enclose the double height reception and foyer space, the swimming pools, and the fitness suite where it allows high level views out onto the plaza. The system has

Hertel, the multi-discipline construction and maintenance services company, has been awarded the international quality standard OHSAS 18001 for its health and safety management systems in Ireland. The certification was achieved on the first attempt after an assessment by LRQA, the independent accreditation organisation. Chris Abbey, Head of HSEQ for Hertel UK and Ireland, says: "Gaining the OHSAS 18001 standard is a clear message to our clients in Ireland that we

have effective health and safety procedures in place. It was our business objective to achieve the accreditation at the first attempt which we did." LRQA carried out its assessment over five days and visited various Hertel sites throughout Ireland. Chris Abbey adds: "The team in Ireland can be proud of their achievement."

Hertel In Ireland Achieves Safety Standard

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been used to construct an internal glazed screen with impact resistant and acoustic glass between the two swimming pools, and as full height glazing to a recessed space in the building envelope that provides courtyard views from the circulation area, offices and crèche. The curtain walling was finished in light grey. It is complemented by Technal’s double pivot commercial doors around the building and FXi65 top hung actuated casement windows inserted into the GEODE-MX system for natural ventilation. GEODE-MX sloped glazing was used above the main circulation stairwell to allow light deep into the centre of the building. The building envelope also features copper cladding in the central plaza and on the north elevation between the main pool and the teaching pool, to striking effect. Hengrove Park is the centrepiece of a major regeneration programme to transform South Bristol. It was also designed to be sustainable, with its use of grey water, reduced flow rates to conserve water, high standards of air tightness throughout, and building materials such as aluminium which have low embodied energy. The building is set to make a significant contribution to the quality of sports facilities in the area and will be a sub-regional centre of excellence. Technal’s GEODE-MX curtain walling can be used to create a wide variety of architectural compositions from a single grid system – low to high rise façades, horizontal or vertical emphasis, and ribbon, structural, faceted, beaded and sloped glazing. GEODE-MX Acoustic for additional noise protection and MX62 for even larger glass sizes are the latest additions to the extensive range of GEODEMX curtain walling options. For further information about Technal’s portfolio of commercial aluminium window, door, curtain walling, low rise façade systems and solar shading, call 01 410 5766, email info@technal.ie or visit www.technal.ie

For more information visit: www.hertel.com January/February 2013

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Specifier Specifier Tegral’s 2nd Free Roof Goes to Monaghan Congratulations to Gerry Cassidy from Scotstown in County Monaghan who came out winner of the second draw in Tegral’s exciting Win A Roof Competition. The draw took place on Thursday 20th of December last. Gerry purchased his Tegral ThrutonePlus slates from the Monaghan branch of Heiton Buckley Builders Merchants. It was an unfortunate circumstance that brought about the purchase as Gerry was rebuilding his home after a devastating house fire on the 27th of December 2011. Thankfully there was nobody at home at the time. At the official presentation of the prize a very pleased Gerry explained how the whole roof was destroyed by the fire and due to the amount of damage caused the entire house had to be levelled and rebuilt. The house, located on half an acre in the townland of Drummons, had been there for twenty years since Gerry bought the site off his father. Construction of the new house began in June of last year and Gerry along with his wife Patricia and sons Shane and Gary hope to move back in to their new home at Easter. Gerry is in the steel welding business carrying out maintenance for local factories and creameries. Gerry received his prize at the premises of Heiton Buckley Builders Merchants, Milltown on the 22nd of January. Also present were David Hamilton, Branch Manager and Barry Farrelly, Sales Advisor

at the store. According to David “Heiton Buckley Monaghan has a long history and a great relationship with Tegral. We can sell Tegral slates with complete confidence as Tegral are an Irish manufacturer and offer great levels of support”. David went on to say that “we are delighted to have had a winner in the Tegral Win A Roof Competition and particularly so that it was Gerry as it has been a hard-luck story for him and his family since the house fire. We congratulate them and wish them well”. The prize was awarded by Tadhg Donohoe National Sales Manager of Tegral. Also in attendance were David McMurtry, Sales Manager and Alan Donohoe who is Tegral’s Technical Sales Representative for the region. According to Tadhg, “We are so pleased to present this prize to Gerry and we hope that he

Pictured L-R: Barry Farrelly (Sales Advisor, Heiton Buckley Monaghan), Tadhg Donohoe (National Sales Manager, Tegral), David McMurtry (Sales Manager, Tegral), Gerry Cassidy (Winner), Alan Donohoe (Technical Sales Representative, Tegral) and David Hamilton (Branch Manager, Heiton Buckley Monaghan).

and his family have many happy years in their new home. The Win A Roof competition has been very successful and we would encourage anyone building a new home this year to choose Tegral slates which are made in Ireland for Irish conditions”. Tegral Building Products Ltd Email: info@tegral.com Web: www.tegral.com

O’Riordan Sheds choose Fortex® to clad range of Sheds, Outbuildings and Home Offices O’Riordan Sheds, a leading fabricator of sheds and related products in the South West, has chosen Fortex® textured cladding to clad a range of its sheds, outbuildings and home offices. The Fortex range of cladding products is manufactured by Freefoam, a leading manufacturer of innovative products for the building industry in Ireland, the UK and Mainland Europe. Fortex® has an attractive textured effect and comes in a range of standard and bespoke colours. The range includes exterior cladding systems available in single, weatherboard and double plank formats. The double plank product makes installation even easier and quicker than normal. Fortex requires little maintenance once installed which is a major benefit for the owners of residential and mobile homes, sheds and commercial

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January/February 2013

buildings. Finally, Fortex comes with significant environmental credentials with the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) ‘Green Guide To Specification’ giving PVC cladding an A+ rating when installed with standard components. Maurice O’Riordan, Managing Director, comments: “Fortex® is a perfect alternative to timber for a wide range of exterior cladding applications due to its textured surface and the fact that it is very low maintenance. The wide range of colours to choose from adds significantly to the attractiveness of the product. It’s also quick and easy to install which speeds up the fabrication process for us. Overall, we’re very happy with the product and plan to continue using it for many years to come.”

For further information please contact: Freefoam Plastics T: (021)496-6311 E: info@freefoam.com W: www.freefoam.com

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ICIM JAN/FEB 2013  

JANUARY FEBRUARY 2013 ISSUE

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