Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
213. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the average all-in development cost to the Exchequer for one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom social houses and one-, two- and three-bedroom social apartments delivered through the social housing investment programme in the past 12 months. [38827/21]
My Department assesses, approves and records local authority social housing delivery on a project basis, rather than on the basis of individual unit types.
As Social Housing Investment Programme (SHIP) funded construction projects by local authorities must, like all publicly-funded construction programmes, comply with the Public Spending Code and Capital Works Management Framework, my Department periodically issues Unit Cost Ceilings (UCCs) for each local authority area, for use as a key benchmark for the development and costing of scheme designs at capital appraisal stage. While not a record of actual delivery costs, UCCs are based on an analysis of returned data from tendered social housing schemes over an extended period and updated based on published tender index information as required.
To monitor tender cost trends and to inform the UCCs levels, my Department analyses the tender data for the construction cost element of new build schemes approved under the SHIP and Capital Assistance Scheme four stage approval processes for each unit type, where sufficient information is available to allow such costs to be extrapolated and where the information available is appropriate for comparison purposes.
Outlined in the tables below are average construction costs (incl. VAT) per unit type, recorded as part of the aforementioned analysis for projects tendered in each of the years 2019 to 2020. The tables also set out the range of costs that make up this average for each unit type. The range of costs recorded vary, depending on design, location and on the level of abnormal requirements for each scheme, for instance existing site conditions, demolitions, service diversions and site access requirements. Abnormal costs are also separately identified in the tables below.
|Construction Costs* (incl abnormals)||Construction Costs* (incl abnormals)||Abnormal |
|Average Cost |
|Range of |
Costs Per Unit
|Average Cost |
|Range of Costs Per Unit|
|1 bed house||€185,246||€139k - €237k||€25,181||€3k - €46k|
|2 bed house||€195,392||€129k - €263k||€25,115||€6k - €66k|
|3 bed house||€214,076||€152k - €342k||€25,121||€6k - €66k|
|4 bed house||€263,204||€205k - €321k||€41,527||€19k - €66k|
|1 bed apartment||€197,087||€169k - €269k||€32,919||€24k - €54k|
|2 bed apartment||€230,300||€198k - €306k||€16,882||€7k - €54k|
|3 bed apartment||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|1 bed house||€189,320||€144k - €208k||€26,699||€7k - €47k|
|2 bed house||€198,174||€136k - €255k||€20,022||€4k - €58k|
|3 bed house||€226,455||€131k - €346k||€19,227||€4k - €58k|
|4 bed house||€234,794||€192k - €298k||€19,510||€4k - €58k|
|1 bed apartment||€291,762||€129k - €354k||€32,609||€4k - €43k|
|2 bed apartment||€290,902||€170k - €373k||€26,249||€4k - €43k|
|3 bed apartment||€323,407||€232k - €398k||€27,379||€4k - €43k|
|* Construction Costs as shown, are derived from unit cost analysis and capture the construction cost element only incl abnormals (i.e. not all-in costs)|
The above costs relate to the construction element of the all-in delivery cost. Other items that make up the all-in total include:
- Design/technical fees: Design fees vary from project to project, depending on the location, size and complexity of a scheme (and depending on whether design services are provided by a local authority in-house or via external appointment). As a guideline/indicator, design fee are generally expected to range between 7.5% to 12.5% of construction costs.
- Land cost: Land costs will vary significantly from project to project, depending on location and ownership status (i.e. land costs could vary from existing local authority land at no cost to land purchased at market value).
- Utilities: Connection fees for Irish Water, ESB, gas, etc. As a guideline/indicator, utility connection costs are generally in the order of €7k per unit.
- Other Costs: Other items that make up the all-in delivery cost can include site investigations/surveys, archaeological requirements, Percent for Art contributions - and will vary from scheme to scheme
To assist in policy development and to provide evidenced based data, in October 2020, the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service (IGEES) in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, published an ‘Analysis of Social Housing Build Programme’ which examined the social housing build programme over the years 2016 to 2019 and considered issues such as Use of Build Delivery; Type of Units, Cost & Speed of Delivery and Cost Efficiency and Market Interaction. The IGEES analysis noted the range of average costs which highlighted the diversity of costs for delivery of new build units across different developments and locations. The paper is available at the following link: www.budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2021/Documents/Budget/Spending%20Review%202020%20-%20Analysis%20of%20Social%20Housing%20Build%20Programme.pdf.
I will be publishing a new Housing Strategy, "Housing for All" shortly and I look forward to working with all stakeholders in delivering on the commitment in the Programme for Government to increase the social housing stock by over 50,000 over the next five years, with an emphasis on new builds, and to ensuring that local authorities are central to delivering housing.
Since the Buy and Renew Scheme was introduced, local authorities have purchased circa 700 homes for social housing use. Nationally, the average cost to deliver one of these homes under the Scheme is circa €190,000, including the cost for the necessary improvement works to the properties.
I have asked local authorities to increasingly target vacant and derelict properties that can be brought back to use as part of new public housing delivery, particularly where good value for money can be obtained and there is no impact on the local property market and I have assured them of my Department's support in this regard. Going forward, local authorities will be tackling such vacancy and dereliction through a more construction-led approach to deliver new social homes on exiting sites and to support town centre and urban improvements.
215. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the average cost to the Exchequer of a social home delivered through the housing agency’s rolling €70 million vacant homes acquisition fund in the past 12 months. [38829/21]
An acquisitions fund of €70 million, which is a revolving fund was established with effect from 1 January 2017 with the objective of acquiring some 1,600 units over the period to 2021 for social housing use. This has enabled the Housing Agency to actively engage with banks and investment companies in relation to the acquisition of vacant properties. The fund is replenished by the Housing Agency through the sale of units primarily to the Approved Housing Body (AHB) sector which are utilising the Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and the funds received are then recycled back into the fund for future acquisitions.
To the end of March 2021, the Housing Agency have delivered 809 properties using the Fund. In the period from 1 July 2020 to 31 March 2021, the Housing Agency delivered 46 properties with an average spend per unit of €229,022.
216. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the average cost to the Exchequer of a new traveller specific accommodation unit delivered from the Travellers accommodation budget in the past 24 months.; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38830/21]
In accordance with the Housing (Traveller Accommodation) Act 1998, housing authorities have statutory responsibility for the assessment of the accommodation needs of Travellers and the preparation, adoption and implementation of multi-annual Traveller Accommodation Programmes (TAPs) in their areas. My Department’s role is to ensure that there are adequate structures and supports in place to assist the authorities in providing such accommodation, including a national framework of policy, legislation and funding.
Traveller-specific projects and developments are focused on group housing schemes and halting sites. This includes meeting Traveller-specific housing needs through a range of mechanisms, such as the provision of mobiles and caravans; the provision of new and the refurbishment of existing halting sites and bays; the provision of new group housing schemes and the extension and refurbishment of existing schemes; the return to use of vacant group housing and the acquisition of properties in certain circumstances.
With the exception of the acquisition of properties and the provision of mobiles and caravans the timeline for the initiation, design, planning approval, tendering and contract management of traveller specific accommodation is generally longer than two years, I understand. Therefore, payments made from the traveller specific accommodation budget over the last 24 months in respect of construction projects would not give a reliable indication of average costs as they may not include all payments from initiation to completion in respect of a sufficient quantity of projects to provide a reliable average cost.
Average costs can however be provided for the last 24 months in respect of the acquisition of homes and the provision of mobiles and caravans. In 2019 the average cost for completed acquisitions was €339,750 and in 2020 it was €228,833. It should be borne in mind that the number of acquisitions is relatively small and the average can vary widely from year to year depending upon the number of acquisitions and the size and location of the homes acquired.
In respect of the provision of emergency mobiles/caravans the average cost to my Department was €9,947 in 2019 and €12,662 in 2020. This however only represents 50% of the actual average cost as local authorities fund 50% of the cost under the emergency replacement scheme. In respect of mobiles/caravans provided during the Covid emergency response, my Department funded 100% of the costs of the provision of mobiles/caravans (including associated costs) and the average cost was €22,180.