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RIAI Calls for a Dedicated Government Minister and Department for the Built Environment

Published: Tuesday, March 15, 2016

RIAI Urges Incoming Government to Create a Dedicated Government Minister and Department for the Built Environment

RIAI Logo 2008

Tuesday, 15 March, 2016: The RIAI has repeated its call for a dedicated Government Minister and Department of the Built Environment in the context of ongoing discussions around the formation of a new government.  The call for a dedicated Government Minister and Department of the Built Environment was a key element of the RIAI’s election manifesto, published in February. The manifesto called for all General Election candidates to commit to the principles of improved planning and a better built environment. The RIAI believes that by implementing the recommendations in its election manifesto it will lead to increased FDI, job creation, more efficient use of public expenditure and ultimately more sustainable communities for all.

The RIAI’s five key areas they are asking political parties and candidates to commit to and advocate are:

  1. A dedicated Government Minister and Department of the Built Environment: Ireland has suffered from relying on short-term planning which has sown the seeds of the challenges that we now face today. We need to learn from our mistakes and focus on co-ordinated long-term planning under the direction of a cabinet Minister.
  2. Delivery of quality homes: To resolve the current housing crisis and boost the delivery of quality homes across the country RIAI advocates a suite or measures such as:

    • Maximising use of existing built stock in towns and cities by expanding and improving ‘Living over the Shop’
    • VAT reductions for first time buyers
    • Stimulating employment by extending the Home Renovation Scheme to 2020 and abolishing VAT from professional fees for renovations
    • Speeding up delivery through a more efficient, streamlined procurement process replacing the current system with different approaches from each Local Authority and requirements to file    multiple forms of the same   documentation
    • Revising social housing procurement criteria that would allow a broader range of architectural practices across the country to be in a position to tender for work, providing more choice to Local Authorities.
  3. An architect responsible for every town to ensure the principles of good design and planning are implemented at a local level that will ultimately help increase the levels of outside investment, generate new business, improve quality of life for inhabitants, grow tourism and resolve infrastructural difficulties.
  4. Delivery of a Spatial & Infrastructural Strategy for the 21st century: To secure purposeful and appropriate built environment, establish parameters for future development and ensure the sustainability of communities.
  5. Government Policy on Architecture 2016-2021: To implement a new policy promoting high standards in design and construction and recognising architecture as an integral part of our national identity.

Commenting on the need for a dedicated Minister for Built Environment, Carole Pollard, President of RIAI said: “This is a role which already exists, in various similar forms, in the UK, Poland, the Netherlands, Australia and Canada. Having a dedicated Minister for the Built Environment will allow for a co-ordinated approach to planning the long-term needs of people living in Ireland to ensure the delivery of housing, education, healthcare, transport and other facilities where and when they are required that allow for sustainable communities.”

Speaking about solutions for the current housing crisis, Carole Pollard added: “While the housing crisis was foreseen by many experts within the sector, a workable solution has yet to be implemented. The RIAI is proposing that the new government adopt our suggested initiatives in order to help the housing sector in its recovery from the crisis. Our proposed initiatives will boost the delivery of quality homes, encourage development, and attract rental occupancies in towns and cities nationwide.”

For media enquiries: Dr. Sandra O'Connell, RIAI Communications Manager, (01) 6761703 or Niall Quinn, The Reputations Agency (01) 661 8915 or (086) 827 4829

Categories: Housing | RIAI Press Release

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