The Construction Industry Council (CIC) of which Engineers Ireland is a member, has written to Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform and Eoghan Murphy, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. The correspondence welcomed “the swift and prudent action taken by the Government in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to date.”
The letter also said a “concerted effort must be made to safeguard the construction and wider built environment industry, given its critical importance to the Irish economy.”
The CIC said that since the commencement of the crisis, each member organisation has been “actively promoting and implementing best practice in compliance with HSE Guidelines to ensure the health and safety of construction workers, engineers, architects, surveyors, other professionals, suppliers and the general public. “
The CIC is calling on Government to:
1. Address and alleviate concerns over the current contractual and associated implications of the cessation and restrictions of works on sites (e.g. company failures, supply chain failures, imposition of penalties, unavoidable additional costs, loss of key staff, contract determinations etc).
2. Where it is necessary, in the national interest to maintain projects ready for immediate recommencement when the crisis allows, explore fair and transparent cost management solutions for the project teams (contractors, professional service consultants and supply chain) to maintain existing structures to enable the quick restart of activities.
3. Address and expedite payment schedules.
4. Continue investment in progress for building and infrastructure projects, as well as prioritising and streamline procurement plans so that the time lost is minimised post-crisis. Government should instruct public bodies to continue with the planning, designing and procurement stages of projects so that projects can be shovel ready when the crisis ends.
5. Accelerate the work on key infrastructural investment outlined in Project Ireland 2040 through innovative procurement and contracting strategies to ensure the future pipeline of work and build confidence in the continued viability of the industry as a key economic driver.
The CIC is requesting urgent attention be given to these issues and remains available to engage with Government as required to ensure their efficient implementation. The CIC has asked for a meeting with the Minister’s senior officials to discuss the details of the next steps to ensure “we exit this period of national emergency as strongly as possible.”
Denise Maguire Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine