Factory-made homes – or so-called ‘modular’ construction – will have “a huge role to play” in solving Ireland’s housing crisis, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has said.
Speaking after the industry group’s virtual conference, which discussed ways new technologies can boost construction, the CIF’s director of government relations Shane Dempsey said Ireland needs to embrace modular construction.
"In the immediate term, we need to make sure young couples can secure mortgages, builders can secure development finance and that we remove the costly bureaucratic barriers to homebuilding in Ireland. But we should begin now to build a world-class modular construction sector for the long-term viability of the industry," he said.
The Central Bank has warned of a drop of 10,000-17,000 new houses being built this year due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Danielle Dy Buncio – CEO of international digital building surveyor VIATechnik – told the CIF conference that industrialised, or modular, construction can have a lot of value if done right.
Mr Dempsey said the digitalisation of construction could help the Irish industry capture some of an emerging €265bn profit pool in global construction.
He said the CIF is engaging with the Government to ensure it supports SME construction firms in adopting the technologies that can lead to the efficient construction of sustainable and affordable housing.
"Construction is the largest industry in the world, accounting for 13% of global GDP. So, the prizes for Irish companies that specialise, digitise and internationalise is simply enormous," he said.
"These technologies have the potential to solve issues closer to home also. Nowhere more so than in housing where there will be a major political focus in the coming years," he said.