Build smart for a happy tomorrow

Sunday Business Post-Property supplement*
Sunday, 3 May 2015
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Build smart for a
happy tomorrow
Sustainable Property summit in Dublin of Dublin City is expected to increase by
last week.
12 per cent to almost 1.5 million.
Charles’s rationale is convincing. When
Yetthe swellinpopulationis overshadowing
the country was flush with housing we
the housing supply. Jim Keogan,
became complacent in our boom-bust
assistant chief executive for planning
in Dublin City Council, said that 7,000
“I certainly think in this country we all to 8,000 additional units per year are
thought it’s been good for years and it’s required to keep pace with the upward
goingto continue, ” said Charles. “Thereal population trend Compare this to figures
estate community is very keen to get out from 2013, where output nationally was
the message about the unsustainability
only 8,300 units, 16 per cent (1,360) of
of bubbles and on the urban environment
which were built in Dublin. This is a stark
and how you can disseminate the
contrast to 2007 where there were more
message to prevent it happening again.
than 7,000 units completed in Dublin
“Global leaders and heads of state
meeting at Davos earlier this year said city alone, he said.
this. We are standing on the verge of another “So you can see where a cliff or a car
crash has occurred in relation to supply,”
property bubble, globally,” said
said Keogan, who wondered why
Charles. “I’m standing in a country that
there has been no difference in labour or
doesn’t seem to get that.
material costs in the construction sector
“We have no strategic plan for infrastructure
deficits. Looking at Cushman & between 2008 and 2014.
Wakefield’sproperty market analysis, it is
Keogan also highlighted the council’s
clear that Ireland is currenfly the land of
ongoing efforts to address the thorny bureaucratic
mega-deals. It’sa very small country on a
issues surroundingthe conversion
global scale, yet it has seen an incredible
of city central Georgian buildings for
amount of investment activity here in the
city dwellers, red tape that can make or
past few years,” said Charles.
“Investors are attracted here, not becauseis working on a new guideline template,
it’s Ireland, but because they like
including the Living City Initiative, which
volatility, they look for liquid markets.”
it will announce on Tuesday (seepage 9).
And when they’ve done their business,
“The ‘one size fits all’approach doesn’t
acquired their assets at bargain basement
work in the city The only bespoke standards
prices, they then sell them on when the
in place are those for students, and
market starts to rise.
we are looking at a number of initiatives,
“Andwho buys that now inflated property including vacant upper floor space - that
back?” asked Charles. “We do, the
space on floors above shops and businesses
indigenous market ”
in the city centre - that are vacant.
Charles stressed the need for a universal It’s a huge issue and one that requires a
design approach to sustainable living
dynamic approach,” he said.
for multi-generational cities and urban
The accommodation shortage has fed
centres. “Our urban environments need
into our current emergency situation, as
to encourage good health. Unfortunately,
90,000 households sit on social housing
a guess: which
child obesity is on the rise in Ireland.
country is in line
Simple changes like getting rid of cul de
In response, the government published
with Ireland on urban sacs so children can walk and cycle to
its six-year social housing strategy and
schools easier,for example, would have a
issues? Would you big impact on improving healthier urban
Construction 2020, a strategy to renew
be surprised to find environments,” she said.
the construction sector.
the answeris India?
The story lies in the numbers. In Ireland, “The sector faces the challenge in the
That's according to
short to medium term of restoring the
63 per cent of the population live
AliceCharles,head of urban development
capacity to finance the developments of
for the World Economic Forum and one
the skill required to service the needs for
ofthe speakers at TheSundayBusiness
Post’s dominant city. By 2020, the population
Ireland is
bottom of the
class when it
comes to future
proofing our
towns and cities,
our homes,
links, social
housing needs
and healthy
But help is at
hand, write
Leanna Byrne
Sunday Business Post-Property supplement*
Sunday, 3 May 2015
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nousing ana commercial development
opment plan since November, is taking
and economic and social infrastructure, ” inspiration from the London experience.
said Minister for the Environment, CommunityTraditionally a compact city, Dublin
and Local Government, Alan
needs to embrace different housing models
to cater for a high demand for one and
Kelly said the country was suffering
two-person households.
from the property stagnation of the last
“The indicators are that the 57 per cent
eight years.
of the houses made nationally will be for
“That’s creating the issues that we all
to page 2
read about, and that me and my colleagues
have to fix, ” he said, highlighting
topics such as planning hills and regulations,
vacant site levies, the speed
and efficiency of bodies such as An Bord
Pleanala, and potentially reducing development
contributions retrospectively as
areas that need to be more dexterous.
He said property development and
construction must now be sustainable
to meet the needs of society. But what
does it mean to develop a sustainable
property sector?
To live sustainably, as Jim Keogan puts
it, is to five in a compact, green and
well-connected city. Dublin City Council,
Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly and RTEpresenter Duncan Stewart at the Sustainable Property summit; above: Alice Charles of the World Economic Forum with
architect Dermot Bannon
Sunday Business Post-Property supplement*
Sunday, 3 May 2015
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Why it’s time to build smart for a happy tomorrow
energy we use in our homes
and needs of buildings being
built right now? Is it the US is renewable. G-rated homes,
one or two-person households,”
said Keogan. “That investor who has commissionedof which there are many, are
the build? The real
up to 70 times more inefficient
has a significant impact then
than a passive house. We will
in relation to, say, any city estate agent advising them?
development plan or county
The tenant who is going to pay need five more Planet Earths
to sustain life on the one we
development plan on how you the lease?” asked Lee.
“We have plenty of skill, but have if everyone continues to
address that need in regards
not enough knowledge, and live the way we do now, ” said
to, say, housing stock.”
architects, builders or developersStewart.
Even as the government’s
“Every time we build a
who fail to up-skill and
social housing strategy has
been welcomed on all fronts, master new regulations risk building, we need to look at
Simon Brooke, head of policy being overlooked, said Cormacthe environmental
Allen, assistant head of from concept. It comes back
at Cluid Housing, said the
school at the Dublin Institute to planning. People are gravi
figure of 90,000 says nothing
about the social housing need. of Technology. Educating current tating towards cities and away
“Social housing has collapsed college entrants about the from the countryside. It’s our
latest regulations and standardsreality. So we need to build
from the perspective
is obvious, but they’re more density, but we have to
of new homes,” said Brooke.
not going to graduate until at supply public transport infrastructure
“The number of social homes
to sustain that
built fell by 93 per cent during least 2020.
“We need immediate postgraduate
the economic downturn, from
While Stewart stressed the
and working professional
8,700 in 2007 to 642 in 2014.
need to use efficient building
CPD [continuing
We are effectively starting
professional development],
materials as a start, such as zero-carbon
from zero,” he said.
timber, co-panellist
“The need for social housing
Compliance has its benefits, Brian Gilmore, sustainability
ranges from people on the
manager at Cement Manufacturers
streets to those who can’t afford however. Tliese regulations
Ireland, argued that
their rent,” said Brooke. will contribute to the bigger
materials like concrete, which
“One of the critical things is to picture of a low-carbon, resource
efficient economy and is 100 per cent recyclable, is
look at that nature of housing
more efficient, and less of a
need. About 30,000 would be
Indeed, coping with housing fire hazard for high rise development,
categorised as needing social
which is needed
shortage issues and regulatory
housing. It would be a very
in cities like Dublin, rather
demands are only
good start towards achieving
than allowing our capital to
strands in the wider context
that government aim. ”
continue its outward sprawL
Legacy issues - such as the of sustainable living.
We’re doing our part too, ”
fire and safety revelations at
Longboat Quay in the Dublin example, emit six tons of he said. “Concrete requires
high temperatures
docklands - have made C02 through energy consumption
to manufacture,
each year. “Irish
consumers wary of apartment
but we’ve had a replacement
living. This has largely been homes emit 94 per cent C02
programme to substitute depleting
remedied by new building
fossil fuels by 50 per
regulations on standards and
cent by 2017.”
compliance, but is still a burden
40 per cent of all energy consumption
for the sector.
Planning ahead
used in this country
Regulation compliance,
year, according to architect The key to looking after our
according to Philip Lee,
towns and cities, said architect
and television presenter
managing partner of Philip
Dermot Bannon, is joined-up
Duncan Stewart.
Lee Solicitors, is also another
thinking. As site values soar
“We’retalking about development
challenge for the sector. European
and younger families are
that meets our needs
directives in relation today and doesn’t compromise pushed out to commuter
to environmentally-effective
belts, Bannon looks towards
the needs of our future
builds are largely unknown,
and future generations,” he towns such as Westport as an
yet vital components to even said. “Right now, the figures
example of exceptional development
the earliest stages of a build.
just don’t stack up.
“Who decides the quality
is a fantastic ex“Only 1.8 per cent of the
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Sunday Business Post-Property supplement*
Sunday, 3 May 2015
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ample in Ireland where the a $1.8 trillion industry in the
town adopted its own development
US alone. These towns are designed
programme,” said
to be resilient from disasters
Bannon, of RTE’s Room to
and economic shocks.
Improve fame. “It set up the
“Resilience is something we
framework and the rules. The need to deal with. If you look
community said, we don’t at Dublin, flooding is a major
want out-of-town shopping. ” concern; unemployment is a
Even when Tesco was lookingmajor concern,” said Charles.
“It’s all about adapting and
to locate in Westport, the
town made sure its location growing, no matter what we
would not take consumers face,” she said.
from its central town huh.
Alice Charles from the
World Economic Forum said
that the smart cities industry
was estimated in 2011 as
Simon Brooke of Cluid Housing, Brian Gilmore of Cement Manufacturers
Jim Keogan of Dublin City Council, and Dermot Bannon, architect
David Cantwell of Hooke & MacDonald, Peter Stafford of
Ibec and Tina-Marie O’Neill, Property Plus editor, The Sunday
Business Post
Ireland, Alan Kelly, Minister for the Environment,
All pictures: Maura Hickey