Surveyors welcome Government aid for builders on State projects

Organisation says measure must be part of recovery plan for construction

Work on public projects such as the national children’s hospital has stalled. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Surveyors have welcomed a Government pledge to help builders working on State projects to cover the cost of closing sites during the Covid-19 lock down.

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, said this week the Government would pay builders hired under public works contracts "agreed reasonable non-pay fixed costs" during the time that such sites were closed.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland welcomed the news. President Johanna Gill said that the aid, along with measures to kick-start Project Ireland 2040 developments once the crisis has passed, sent a positive signal to the industry.

“Maintaining momentum on these projects is key to a rapid restart once the ban on construction is lifted, so we welcome these measures,” she said.

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“However, we are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis so they will have to be kept under review and must be seen as part of a sustained recovery plan for the sector.”

The payment only applies to contractors working on State-funded projects and will run from April 12th until midnight on May 4th, the day before the Government is due to review the lockdown.

Claim costs

Government contracts do not entitle builders to claim costs arising from the delay caused by halting work to comply with anti-coronavirus measures.

However, while sites are closed, builders still face charges for security, insurance, leasing some plant and machinery and safety.

Work on projects including the national children’s hospital, Grangegorman university campus, and roads such as the Macroom-Ballyvourney route in Co Cork, stalled when the Government extended coronavirus restrictions in March.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas