The new president of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), Enda McGuane, says over 100,000 workers will be needed in the Irish property, land and construction sectors over the next decade including thousands of surveyors.
A recent report by the SCSI found that if the economy grows by 4 per cent a year, there will be a shortage of almost 1,100 chartered surveyors between now and 2026.
Mr McGuane, who is the asset-management lead for the Land Development Agency (LDA), said the shortage of skilled workers across the three sectors is one of the main constraints on the country’s ability to address the housing crisis as well as key infrastructural and commercial developments.
He said enhancing the SCSI’s role in education and exploring how it can improve the built environment’s performance from a sustainability perspective will be key priorities during his term in office.
Mr McGuane, who is a chartered fellow of the SCSI with dual status as both a property and facility-management surveyor as well as a planning and development surveyor, says inflation and rising interest rates are among the other main challenges facing the construction, property, and land sectors.
Mr McGuane, who is 49 and from west Clare, says it’s important that through its work the surveying profession instils confidence across the three sectors and sends out the message that Ireland is open for business.
“The SCSI has always been a repository of knowledge and a driver of standards in both education and practice and plays an influential role through the production of high-quality cross sector market reports and data-driven analysis. The society currently encompasses all surveying courses run across a variety of third-level institutes in Ireland. I want to build on those relationships and to grow the number of young people who choose surveying as a career.”
A former officer in the Defence Forces where he took part in deployments to Lebanon and East Timor, Mr McGuane was first introduced to surveying as part of an artillery training course. Following his time in the Defence Forces, he worked in a variety of property-related roles, both in the public and private sectors and spent the last 10 years running a wide-ranging property management business in Galway. A long-standing member of the SCSI, he has held a number of senior roles in the organisation including chair of the west/northwest regional committee.
As the asset-management lead at the LDA he has responsibility for cost-rental housing as well as land and site management. One of the key projects he is working on is Project Tosaigh which has expanded in recent months and will see the LDA purchase 5,000 homes which will be made available as cost-rental or affordable-to-purchase homes.
Move to Dublin
In the past year, Mr McGuane his wife and three children relocated from Galway to Dublin. He says the move has given him a personal insight into some of the challenges people currently face when trying to rent or buy a property.
“Given my role in the SCSI and property in general, going through the moving process and experiencing the market directly gives you an even greater understanding of the challenges that young people are facing. That said, I fully understand that it’s a far easier process for me as someone who’s established in their career as opposed to someone who’s starting out and trying to get a place to rent or planning to get on the property ladder.”
Despite the challenges, on a personal level, he says the move has worked out well.
“People have been very welcoming and open. In my younger days I played football with Clare and am now really enjoying coaching hurling and football with Kilmacud Crokes. There’s a great reward to seeing kids of all abilities and ages develop and grow while having fun with their friends.”