Work on 4,400 new homes can start with no extra red tape next month after the Government waived the need for builders to submit new commencement notices to local councils.
Builders must formally notify local councils ahead of beginning work on a particular site, and must then start construction within four weeks of the date on the commencement notice.
Minister for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke said on Friday that he had signed a regulation waiving the need for builders who submitted commencement notices in recent months to provide a second notification, once they start work by April 26th.
The Minister estimated that this would allow work to begin on 4,400 new homes when the Government eases current severe Covid-19 restrictions on April 12th.
Government pandemic curbs on construction are likely to cut the number of houses built in the Republic this year to 16,000, less than half the 34,000 that most estimates agree should be built annually to tackle the housing crisis.
Mr Burke noted that enforcing commencement notice terms would further delay building beyond April 12th.
“In light of the urgent need to get back to building houses as soon as possible, and the announcement by the Taoiseach signalling a phased easing of Covid restrictions, I have taken the decision to implement regulations waiving the requirement for the re submission of valid commencement notices.”
The Minister also exempted building work on créches and early-learning centres from current restrictions, allowing this to restart next month.
Restrictions have frozen around 60 per cent of building in the Republic, although work on public housing, data centres and some other projects has continued.
A Government decision in January to restrict building drew fire from the industry, which noted that its own figures showed it was responsible for just 145 virus cases after it reopened in May last year.
Construction employed between 129,000 and 137,000 workers during this time.
Following next month’s easing of current restraints, the Government will consider allowing the entire building industry to restart in early May.