Retrofitting scheme of council houses behind schedule, SDCC says

Gary Ibbotson 23 Jun 2022

South Dublin councillors have renewed their calls for an increase in funding for the retrofitting of council owned homes.

The calls come after it was revealed that only 76 homes in the county were retrofitted as part of the 2021 programme.

In a reply to a question tabled by People Before Profit councillor Madeleine Johansson, the local authority confirmed only a further 41 homes were currently undergoing works.

Last year, €3.2 million was provided from the central Government to the council for 117 homes, with another €5.1 million given in 2022 to cover another 156 homes.

Delays to the 2021 works have been blamed on the shortage of labour and supplies, and the Covid-19 restrictions.

In its response, the council said that the project aims to improve the Building Energy Rating (BER) of the housing stock “to a minimum of B2” and “to reduce both carbon emissions and heating costs for council tenants.

“Due to the project management required as well as the level of design works involved, the programme is being delivered on an estate-by-estate basis with areas selected based on age, condition, location and diversity of property types as it is not practical or feasible to deliver this scale of the programme based on individual tenant requests,” the local authority said.

“While delivery of the programme to date has been slower than intended, the delays are similar to those experienced by the construction industry in general.”

Johansson said that more needs to be done by the Government and county council to quicken up the retrofitting process.

“The funding provided by government to retrofit council owned homes isn’t anywhere near what is needed,” she says.

“We are facing both a climate emergency and rising energy costs and one of the easiest ways to reduce energy consumption is the retrofitting of homes.

“South Dublin County Council has a housing stock of over 9000 homes, many of which are in need of retrofitting.

“At the current rate most tenants will have to wait 20 to 30 years to have their home upgraded, and in the meantime they will have to pay high bills or even worse live in a cold home.”

Johansson said that a publicly-ran construction company would help alleviate the problem.

“We need urgent action, both by the government and South Dublin County Council, to speed up the retrofitting of council homes,” she said.

“To tackle the problem of labour shortage we need a state-owned construction company that could retrofit all public buildings including council homes in a more efficient way.

“The retrofitting of council owned homes on a large scale would help many who are struggling to pay their bills, as well as reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions.”

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