IHBA report identifies practical solutions to speed up the delivery of new homes

Problems with Ireland’s planning system are causing significant delays in the delivery of new homes according to a new report published today by The Irish Homebuilders Association (IHBA).

The report, which was prepared by Tom Phillips Associates on behalf of the IHBA, identifies the planning reforms needed to expedite the delivery of housing in Ireland.

The report has identified practical, achievable improvements to the planning system.  These include improved resourcing for local authorities and An Bord Pleanala; fast tracking the establishment of an electronic planning system; and streamlining design standards to reduce costs and maximise space available for developments.

Launching the report, James Benson, Director with the IHBA, said: “It is agreed that Ireland needs on average between 33,000-36,000 new homes across all tenure types delivered annually for the next two decades.  But we are trying to meet the demands of the 21st-century with a 20th-century planning system.

“The result is unnecessary delays to homebuilding up and down the country. This landmark report identifies the need for certainty and speed in the delivery of viable housing schemes, while respecting the importance of the planning process. We have identified practical, achievable solutions to improve the planning system in Ireland and help meet our common goals of much needed new homes in Ireland.”

The report, Planning Reform Necessary to Expedite the Delivery of Housing, calls for:

Key recommendations to expedite delivery:

  • Urgently establish an electronic planning system to speed up and promote greater participation in the planning process
  • Examine the potential for the greater use of Outline Planning Permissions to help define strategic design and planning issues at the outset, rather than at the end, in order to reduce costs
  • Introduce the concept of ‘viability testing’ on all plans to ensure equitable weighting to market requirements
  • Conduct a thorough root and branch review of the planning system as committed to in 2017

Remove barriers for speedy delivery of homes:

  • Introduce a more equitable treatment of vacant site levies nationally which reflect the reasons why there might be delays progressing on a site
  • Local Authorities should provide a schedule of all zoned lands to identify any barriers to delivery of homes
  • Remove Irish Water bureaucracy as an impediment to commencing development on sites
  • Ensure adequate resources are deployed at local authority and An Bord Pleanala level to avoid delays

Review of planning and design standards/guidelines: (longer-term to open debate on improving, streamlining standards):

  • Ensure Ministerial Guidelines are fit for purpose in 2021 to ensure design standards can be streamlined to reduce costs and maximise space available for development
  • Facilitate an open debate on house design standards which are in line with international best practice regarding public and private open spaces and separation distances

The report, Planning Reform Necessary to Expedite the Delivery of Housing, can be viewed here :https://cif.ie/associations/irish-home-builders-association/