The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) is set to spark a scramble amongst professional firms to be part of the first phase of the Government’s €300m social house building Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme.
It follows the NTMA advertising a tender seeking interest from a range of architectural and engineering consultants to be placed on panels to help guide the project.
Under the framework agreement, the consultants will be required to develop preliminary designs, and produce drawings and other documents, under the Social Housing PPP programme.
It is hoped the programme could provide a significant boost to the house building industry, while also shortening local authority housing lists across the country.
The Government’s ambitious social housing programme was launched by Environment Minister Alan Kelly in November 2014, when the Government committed to spending €3.8bn to build and refurbish some 35,000 social housing units by 2020.
At the time, Mr Kelly said the initiative was his number one priority, describing it as the first comprehensive housing plan since 1995.
The strategy promises to effectively eliminate the housing waiting list of 90,000 by 2020.
“I am unlikely to have a more important day in this office. It is the most important announcement to be made during my time as minster,” Mr Kelly said.
The Government has since faced criticism for failing to do enough to deal with the country’s housing shortage which has also contributed to a growing homelessness crisis, however.
A recent study by Simon Communities found that 95% of rental properties are unaffordable for people depending on state rent supports.
The €3.8bn funding will come from central exchequer funds, off-balance-sheet funds, and some PPP programmes.
Last October, Mr Kelly announced the location of the first six sites of the bundle of the social housing PPP programme.
The first phase of the programme is to involve the construction of 540 homes at locations at Ayrfield, Malahide; Corkagh, Grange, and Scribblestown, Finglas in Dublin along with developments at Dunleer, Co Louth, Convent Lands in Co Wicklow, and Craddockstown in Naas, Co Kildare.
The National Development Finance Agency — responsible for much of the State’s PPP — is acting as agent for the Department of the Environment in delivering the programme.
The tender states that four consultants will be appointed to each panel.
The tender also states that the outputs of the consultants’ work will be issued to those tendering for the PPP contracts to be procured under the Social Housing PPP programme.
According to the tender, architectural firms must have a minimum annual turnover of €500,000; civil and structural engineering firms must have an annual turnover of €300,000, and likewise for mechanical and electrical engineering firms, while project supervisor design process businesses must have a turnover of €80,000.
The consultants will also be required to provide planning and development advice and apply for full planning permissions.
The closing date for the receipt of tenders is March 24.
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