Independent audit of house-build costs on way, says Coveney

‘We need to benchmark against cost of building houses in other parts of Europe’

The Housing Agency is co-ordinating preparation of an independent audit of house-building costs,  Simon Coveney said.  File photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The Housing Agency is co-ordinating preparation of an independent audit of house-building costs, Simon Coveney said. File photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

 

The Housing Agency is co-ordinating preparation of an independent audit of house-building costs, Minister for Housing Simon Coveney has told the Dáil.

The audit will be available “in the first quarter of next year”.

He said the report by the Chartered Surveyors of Ireland had made an important contribution in the area but they should not rely on it, and a genuinely independent process was required.

The surveyors’ report factored in over €60,000 of site value and a profit of 15 per cent, but “we need to be seen to have an independent assessment of build cost that includes everything”.

Fair profit

That would include a fair profit, the cost of land, the price of concrete and all the issues to show “what is an affordable house, and what is a reasonable price to expect in different parts of the country”, he told Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Barry Cowen.

Mr Coveney said “we need to benchmark against the cost of building houses in other parts of Europe”.

He said the department had asked the Housing Agency to co-ordinate the issue and was putting together a task force.

“Once there is a template to assess that, it should not be difficult to reassess it periodically to see whether elements of our construction industry are too expensive and if we can deal with that.”

He said they had to look at the costs of concrete in Ireland compared to other parts of Europe. “That process is very much under way and has been for about one month.”