My Department is working closely with all local authorities in relation to increasing and accelerating the delivery of a range of social housing programmes and supports, including through the use of rapid build methodologies.
Local authorities have been advised that rapid build approaches should increasingly become the norm in terms of delivering social housing projects; ultimately, we will likely reach a point where there will be no differentiation between traditional and rapid build approaches.
Dublin City Council is also developing a volumetric rapid build housing programme of apartment developments. This could yield in excess of 700 homes and my Department is working very closely with the Council to prioritise some of the larger apartment schemes, given the current demand.
To support delivery, the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) put in place a framework of Rapid Delivery contractors in 2017. This framework is available for all Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) to use in the interest of accelerated delivery. In this regard, my Department has organised information seminars for Local Authorities, as well as visits to rapid delivery projects under construction. Local Authorities and AHBs have also been asked to consider, in particular, schemes which are suitable for early commencement, particularly in terms of their approved planning status.
Many of the issues around delivery that ‘standard’ social housing construction projects face, are also faced by rapid build projects, such as preparing sites, services/access to the site, community consultation, planning, etc. There are, however, savings in terms of design and construction and these advantages are growing as more use is made of the Office of Government Procurement framework contract and contractors gain more experience in implementing these projects. Under this mechanism, acceleration is delivered both by the use of the Design and Build services of these contractors and reduced construction time periods due to considerable off site fabrication.
While the framework, or indeed off-site construction, may not be suitable for all developments or sites, my Department continues to encourage and support local authorities and AHBs to consider the rapid delivery mechanism in the interest of accelerated delivery.
Updated details in relation to the programme of rapid build projects are included in each Social Housing Construction Projects Status Report, which are published on a quarterly basis on the Rebuilding Ireland website. The most recent report, setting out the position at end-2017, is available at the following link:
http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-social-housing-construction-status-report-q4-2017/. The Q1 2018 report will be published shortly.
My Department will continue to work with local authorities to maximise delivery and harness appropriate build opportunities to deliver on additional homes over the course of the Rebuilding Ireland Plan, including through rapid delivery schemes.