Projected costs of a Dublin City Council housing regeneration project have increased by more than €13 million since its initial approval by the Government in mid-2020, with further increases expected before construction starts.
The council secured approval in principle for the redevelopment of the Constitution Hill flat complex opposite the King’s Inns building at Broadstone from the Department of Housing in June 2020. The project involves the refurbishment and expansion of the existing complex of 89 flats and the construction of two new apartment blocks and 10 houses at the site. At the time the council expected the project to cost €44.5 million.
This was “stage one” of the four-step approval process for social housing and allowed the council to begin the design process for the complex. Last October the council submitted its detailed designs for stage two of the process, where the council seeks permissions from the department to begin the planning process for the development.
Last December, the council published the planning application for the development under Part 8 planning legislation which allows the council to deal with applications for development on its own lands internally, with councillors giving sanction for any project.
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The application was open to public consultation until the end of January and next month councillors will be asked to approve the project. If they sign off, it will then go back to the department for “stage three” approval which would allow the council to go out to tender for builders.
In recent days the council has confirmed that, in advance of seeking the sanction of councillors, the estimated cost of the project has increased to €58 million.
Since it made its initial submission to the department there had been “significant construction inflation in the intervening period which plays a part in the estimated cost increase”, a council spokeswoman said. The revised figures were “still estimated costs and further costs calculation will be carried out following the Part 8 process as we move towards stage 3 approval and the tendering process”.
Stage four of the approval process is when the department gives the council the sanction to award the contract to the selected builder. The council said it hoped to have this stage completed to allow a builder to start work in January 2024.
Confirmation of the cost increase comes just days after the council’s head of housing, Coilín O’Reilly, said the continuing construction inflation was a “significant worry” for delivery of homes by the council.
Mr O’Reilly was responding to a report commissioned by the council which found the council had been paying up to 44 per cent more than private developers for the construction of social housing.
For the Constitution Hill project the council will retain the existing three five-storey blocks of 1960s-built flats, but will extend them with an additional floor on top of each building. It will also build two new seven-storey apartment blocks on the site and 10 two-storey houses, resulting in a total of 124 homes. The work is due to be completed by mid-2027.