The number of homes completed here last year has been overestimated by 6,000, figures drawn from the National Building Control Office suggest.
The Central Statistics’ Office (CSO) recently reported that 29,851 new homes were built in the Republic last year, news welcomed at the time by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien.
However, independent firm Construction Information Services (CIS), argues that other official figures show the actual total was more than 6,000 lower at 23,751, below the Government’s 25,000 target.
The CSO uses the number of homes connected by State company ESB Networks for electricity distribution for its calculations.
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CIS draws its conclusion from figures provided by the National Building Control Office, a statutory body under the umbrella of Mr O’Brien’s department.
[ New home completions rose 45% to almost 30,000 last year ]
The office records all buildings that architects certify as complete and up to standard, as well as all construction work that commences in the Republic, except one-off dwellings.
CIS gathers this information from the office’s publicly available Building Control Management System every week.
“Even excluding the figures for single dwellings, the discrepancy between official figures and CIS figures remains at around 6,000 units,” CIS said.
The company said that there was “an urgent need for an accurate and dependable method for determining the true housing supply figures” in light of the Republic’s ongoing crisis.
Pat McGrath, the company’s product development manager, maintains that the National Building Control Office’s information is foolproof, as it records the detail of every structure certified as complete in the Republic.
Government established the office in 2014 to comply with EU directives meant to standardise how building was regulated.
As a consequence, architects must certify that all developments meet building standards before they are regarded as completed. That certificate must be registered with the National Building Control Office before the building can be opened, occupied or used.
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However, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, says the CSO is responsible for compiling new dwelling completion figures.
“The primary data source used for the new dwellings completions series is the ESB Networks new domestic connections dataset, where the date that the connection is energised determines the date of completion,” a statement said on Tuesday.
Those figures show that 9,148 new homes were completed in the final three months of last year, 7,415 in the preceding three months, 7,648 in the three months to end of June and 5,640 in the first quarter of 2022.
The Government has previously argued that figures from the National Building Control Office were of limited use as its system only dated back to March 2014, so could not take account of any homes begun before that date.
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However, Mr McGrath maintains that this argument is now out of date as the system is nine years old.
Similarly, he rejects the suggestion that the system does not include all new homes as the certificates can cover an apartment block, with more than one dwelling, or developments of multiple homes.
Mr McGrath notes that corresponding planning approvals for these developments show the number of homes in each.