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Government’s Role in Driving the Adoption of Modern Methods of Construction 

The Irish government is taking significant strides to accelerate the adoption of offsite and other modern methods of construction (MMC) in Ireland, a move that could help to transform the State’s approach to building and infrastructure development.

The Department of Housing’s latest initiative involves a roadmap for increasing the use of MMC in public housing delivery. This approach, which includes rapid-build and prefabricated technologies, aims to deliver around 1,800 social homes over the next two years. This innovative strategy is part of the broader ‘Housing for All’ plan, which seeks to modernise traditional construction processes, reduce costs, and create energy-efficient homes. The ultimate goal is to implement these technologies in the majority of the 9,000-10,000 social housing units planned annually. In the government’s ‘Housing for All – Action Plan Update and Q3 2023 Progress Report’, published in early November, a commitment was given to continue to focus on reducing the cost of construction and promoting the adoption of more innovative approaches to the delivery of homes.

To support this transition, Minister of Housing Darragh O’Brien has announced a €100 million fund to alleviate local authority loans on sites suitable for these projects. This financial support, alongside the refunding of €94 million in land debt, is conditional on local authorities adopting new technologies and design-built procurement, with construction expected to commence by 2024. The department has identified 35 sites across 12 local authorities for development, highlighting the potential for significant time and cost reductions, as well as decreased labor requirements and embodied carbon.

MMC Ireland: Industry Collaboration

In response to the need to expand construction’s innovation ecosystem, MMC Ireland, an industry-representative body, was established to promote the increasing use of offsite and other modern methods of construction. This collaboration between 65+ of the leading construction brands aims to gather insights and work closely with stakeholders to positively impact policymaking. The body covers the seven categories of MMC, including volumetric modular and structural panelised methods, and seeks to ensure a regulatory environment conducive to MMC adoption and expansion. Learn more about the organisation at https://mmcireland.ie/

The Real Cost of New Housing and Tendering Opportunities

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) has published a report outlining the costs of new housing delivery, emphasising the need for efficient and sustainable construction methods. In parallel, the government has sought tenders for the construction of social homes using design and build on local authority lands, as part of the Accelerated Delivery Programme. This programme targets the delivery of 1,500 new-build social homes using Design and Build, with regional design and build frameworks to further support social housing delivery over the next four years.

The State’s proactive role in promoting MMC signifies a major shift towards more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable construction practices. It is critical that each government department shares project experiences – both positive and negative – with the others; and these insights should inform policy changes and the reform of procurement, where needed. And more could be done, from more industry-led, forward-focused training and upskilling/reskilling, right through to a more streamlined approach to new product/system testing and certification.

For regular updates and insights into Ireland’s construction sector, stay informed at www.breakingground.news. Also, be sure to share your industry news by emailing editor@breakingground.news

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