CIF South East Construct Conference attracts record numbers to discuss regional opportunities and development needs

by | Nov 9, 2023

Pictured above is Regina Mangan, Managing Director, Liberty Blue Estate Agents. Pictures Tom Ryan Casey Photography

WHAT: CIF Southern Region South East Construct Conference
WHERE: Waterford
WHEN: November 8

The CIF Southern Region held its annual South East Construct in November with record numbers attending the event to hear about upcoming projects in the South East Region.

Director CIF Southern & Eastern Regions Joanne Treacy and CIF South East Branch Chairperson Leonard Daly opened proceedings.

Leonard outlined how the most recent CSO census has shown that the South East Region has the fastest growing population in Ireland.

He spoke of the need of all construction stakeholders to work collaboratively to deliver the required infrastructure need for the region.

CIF President Joe Conway address the CIF South East Construct audience

CIF President Joe Conway also addressed attendees.

“At the CIF event in Galway last week I heard about the many upcoming projects in Galway,” he said. “This evening we will hear about the many transformative projects that are happening in the South East. It appears that the National Planning Frameworks goal of developing the regions is beginning to bear fruit.”

A captive audience at CIF South East Construct

The first presentation of the night was delivered by Regina Mangan, Managing Director of Liberty Blue Estate Agents.

She spoke of the importance of not just selling the new home you are building but the lifestyle and public amenities that are nearby.

She also played an interesting video on how a development in America clearly demonstrated this.

A Housing Panel followed where Regina was joined by Anthony Neville, Managing Director of Anthony Neville Homes Ltd; Conor O’Connell, CIF Director of Housing & Planning; Ian Doyle, Planning Consultant and Kieran Kehoe, Director of Planning, Waterford City & County Council.

A lively debate on housing delivery in the South East was had, with a particular emphasis on the Local Authority’s role in the region in increasing housing supply.

Niall Harrington was next up to present. Niall is a partner with Fewer Harrington Architects and is also the current president of Waterford Chamber of Commerce.

His presentation was entitled ‘Waterford: A City of Opportunity’ and outlined the finding of a recent report from Rikon consultants. Niall outlined how the population of Waterford City is due to rise to 86,855 residents by 2040, with 38 per cent of the catchment area between the ages of 18-44.

All this points towards the significant demand for housing in the future. After the break, The Changing Public Procurement Market Panel took place, chaired by CIF Executive Ronan O’Brien.

The panel included Stefan Matthews, Technical Manager for the Department of Education, Planning and Building Unit; Alison Irving, Executive CIF, Barrister-at-Law and CIArb Accredited Mediator; Leonard Daly, CIF South East Branch Chairman and Commercial Director, Mythen Construction and Charles Mitchell, Senior Quantity Surveyor and Construction Adviser, Office of Government Procurement.

The panel discussed the significant changes to the Public Procurement market with one of the biggest changes being the implementation of a new price variation clause.

The mandatory introduction of BIM on public projects starting from January 1 next year was also discussed.

Stefan spoke of the 1,300 school construction projects that are currently in the pipeline and urged those in attendance to reconsider tendering for education projects going forward.

South East Construct Housing Panel, Anthony Neville, Managing Director of Anthony Neville Homes Ltd; Kieran Kehoe, Director of Planning, Waterford City & County Council; Regina Mangan, Managing Director, Liberty Blue Estate Agents; Ian Doyle, Planning Consultant; Conor O’Connell, Director of Housing & Planning, CIF

Mark Phelan, Construction Director, BAM and Sean Dobbs, Senior Engineer, Economic Development – Projects, Waterford City & County Council then gave a join presentation on the exciting Waterford North Quays Projects.

Work has begun on the public infrastructure section of the projects with the planning application for the main projects due to be applied for.

The final presentation on the night was from Professor Veronica Campbell, President, SETU who spoke about SETU’s capital investment plans and role in educating the construction industry’s future workforce.

The Waterford Crystal site was mentioned with the hope of an agreement being reached to purchase the site shortly. CIF Director General Hubert Fitzpatrick closed out the event by thanking the sponsors Deloitte, Roadstone, Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) and Tipperary ETB.

He spoke of the upcoming introduction of CIRI on a mandatory basis and stressed the CIF’s support for its members in the region.

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