• 16 Jul 2020

RIAI Priorities for the July Job Stimulus include Retrofitting, Infrastructure Development and SME Supports

  • Architects body calls for VAT reductions on retrofitting costs to support quality in construction and quicker achievement of Government sustainable development targets
  • Call for a simplification of the Government supports available to SMEs and a one-stop shop for access

July 16, 2020: The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) has called on the government to support retrofitting and infrastructure development and include a commitment to accessible supports for SMEs in the July Jobs Stimulus.

The Programme for Government contains ambitious targets on retrofitting to upgrade at least 500,000 homes to a B2 by 2030. In order to drive the delivery of this target, encourage homeowners to invest in retrofitting and to engage construction professionals in undertaking this work, the RIAI is asking the Government to consider introducing a reduced VAT rate on costs associated with retrofitting of homes and on services supplied by a qualified professional relating to assessment of retrofitting of homes.

Kathryn Meghen, CEO of the RIAI, said: “The RIAI is keen to avoid the experience following the recent recession when the construction sector was decimated and took a long time to recover. For that reason, the RIAI asks that the Investment Projects and Programmes Office in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform continue to commission the feasibility, design and planning stages of essential infrastructural projects identified in Project Ireland 2040. This will allow construction professions to continue working, to maintain staff in employment and ensure that projects proceed to site as planned.”

In addition, the RIAI is calling on public agencies and local authorities to develop short-term work schemes to improve the public spaces in our cities, towns and villages and to address balanced regional development by moving the focus on growth to regions other than the greater Dublin area.

The RIAI is also highlighting the negative impact on employment in SMEs that the removal of the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy would have, particularly on businesses that are facing reduced revenues and cash flow issues for the foreseeable future. The Institute has called for a commitment to retaining the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy until the end of 2020 and for a simplification of available Government supports.

Kathryn Meghen added: “The majority of architectural practices are small and medium enterprises and the range of supports available to SMEs in light of the COVID-19 challenges has been very welcome. However, the sheer number of supports and the means to access both information regarding qualifying criteria and the ways to apply, is overly complex. Businesses need a simplification of the Government supports available to SMEs and a one-stop shop for access.”

Read the RIAI Goverment Submission

For media queries, please contact:

Grace Cooney, Drury | Porter Novelli, 086 153 6886
Fiona O’Connor, Drury | Porter Novelli, 087 694 9601
Dr Sandra O'Connell, RIAI Director of Architecture and Communications, T 01 6691474

About the RIAI
The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (‘the RIAI’) was founded in 1839. The RIAI supports and regulates the architectural profession and promotes the value that architects bring to society for everyone’s benefit. Our purpose is to drive excellence in the built environment. The RIAI regularly engages with the Government, the professions, industry clients and the public to promote quality in architecture; to deliver quality and sustainability in the built environment; to enrich our distinctive culture and heritage; to contribute to the competitiveness of our economy; and to improve quality of life for the people of Ireland today, and for generations to come.

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