We could address the staff shortage through factory built housing

RedOnion

can edit posts
Messages
6,027
50% faster construction time with only 4 weeks needed on-site.
Saw a one-off house built near me during Covid. Extremely impressive to see the speed.

Site works, foundation and subfloor follows traditional methods. Then you see a scaffold built to full height, but no house, which looks strange.
Crane arrived on site over a weekend, followed by trucks on Monday morning, with the house walls on the back. You could see shape of house at the end of first day. Walls complete on Tuesday evening. Then roof went on. Crane finished by Wednesday. Roof was all pre-fabricated timbers, and then traditional slate went on over the following week or so. Most of the on-site work was then indoors. In terms of 'building' work, they spent as much time on the entrance gate walls as they did on the main structure of the house.
 

joe sod

Registered User
Messages
1,446
Roof was all pre-fabricated timbers, and then traditional slate went on over the following week or so. Most of the on-site work was then indoors. In terms of 'building' work, they spent as much time on the entrance gate walls as they did on the main structure of the house.
I think there are a few issues that you have drawn attention to, I have seen timber construction in Canada and US and it is definitely much faster and more forgiving of mistakes, and yes they make lots of mistakes . It is interesting that the roof was still traditionally slated (one of the most laborious and unforgiving of tasks) , in Canada the roofing is just sheets of plywood with felt tiles nailed on, i have never seen that done in Ireland, it must be because of our extremely wet and windy climate you have to have a conventional roof.

Of course modular construction would be a major advancement , however I don't agree with the narrative that the construction industry is full of thickos and if only they could learn from the high tech or manufacturing industries everything would be rosy. There are many valid reasons why things are done the way they are. There are no Michael O Learys or Jeff Bezos jumping across into the construction industry to bring some "blue sky thinking" I wonder why ?
 

RedOnion

can edit posts
Messages
6,027
It is interesting that the roof was still traditionally slated (one of the most laborious and unforgiving of tasks)
I suspect in this particular case, it is more to do with planning permission than anything else - the house is on a mountainside in 'an area of outstanding beauty' or whatever the planner decided to call it.

There's another that I'm aware of with a metal roof that was done in a small number of sections.
 

fidelcastro

Registered User
Messages
210
In
Isn't that why it has been done before because it's a "massive undertaking" you would need a monster factory, probably a quarry and a cement factory on site. Then the issue of roads not being wide enough to transport these large components. In the US there are wide straight roads and its a huge country with a large market. It's a very big risk for anyone in Ireland by the time you would have it all in place you would just be in time for the next recession. Remember our whole construction industry collapsed in 2008, one of the worst construction recessions in the world.
The high tech companies like Apple or Amazon wouldn't touch it with a barge pole , sure they even baulked at manufacturing electric cars because it too high risk , and not profitable enough for the risk.
Finnish houses are pre built at factories as standard. They are far superior to any draughty Irish construction.
 

joe sod

Registered User
Messages
1,446
In

Finnish houses are pre built at factories as standard. They are far superior to any draughty Irish construction.
The Scandis do alot of things that we don't do or will never do, they also came up with their own technology companies like Nokia and Erricson, we havn't done that either remember even though we are home to America's finest.
They have large tracts of forest , probably the largest in Europe, slower growing timber much better for construction than our very fast growing softwoods, therefore they have a huge timber industry, the same as the US and Canada also big users of modular construction. They also have superb governmental and regulatory environment, our government runs away from regulation and certification , thats why we are dealing with mica and pyrite issues at huge cost today from lack of regulation in the early 2000s
 

kinnjohn

Registered User
Messages
292
In

Finnish houses are pre built at factories as standard. They are far superior to any draughty Irish construction.
Draughty Irish Construction using traditional Irish materials needs to be addressed,

If you look at Germany or Austria lots are now using traditional Irish concrete Construction materials, The reason is airtightness and heat retention in winter, and no need for air-conditioning equipment in hot summer conditions,
if you take a two-story above ground house
Most are built with a basement where all of their washing heating and electric services are located,
the basement along with the upper retaining pillars are reinforced concrete floors all floors along with the roof are concrete,
The brick between the retaining pillars roofs are flat in the summer the concrete takes the heat and transfers it evenly
around the inside of the house,
in the winter the concrete retains the heat, on the outside of the house the use insulation as you see used in Ireland to insulate the outside of existing buildings,
once the shell is in place work on finishing the building can move at different speeds,
 
Last edited:

Purple

Registered User
Messages
11,381
If you look at Germany or Austria lots are now using traditional Irish concrete Construction materials, The reason is airtightness and heat retention in winter, and no need for air-conditioning equipment in hot summer conditions,
About a quarter of new German homes are factory built.
The reasons for choosing that option include better insulation, better air flow management, better airtightness, better heat retention in the winter, much higher quality construction, faster, much more environmentally friendly and considerably cheaper.
 

Itchy

Registered User
Messages
526
...our government runs away from regulation and certification , thats why we are dealing with mica and pyrite issues at huge cost today from lack of regulation in the early 2000s

Mica is and was regulated. Ultimately, the tax payer is shelling out due to non-compliance by the manufacturer.
 

Leo

Moderator
Messages
12,786
in Canada the roofing is just sheets of plywood with felt tiles nailed on, i have never seen that done in Ireland, it must be because of our extremely wet and windy climate you have to have a conventional roof.
Lots of Canada get very similar levels of rain and wind to what we get. The prevalence of shingled roofs there is a cost play, the materials are cheap and you don't need skilled labour.
 

kinnjohn

Registered User
Messages
292
About a quarter of new German homes are factory built.
The reasons for choosing that option include better insulation, better air flow management, better airtightness, better heat retention in the winter, much higher quality construction, faster, much more environmentally friendly and considerably cheaper.
Purple I am aware of all of the above, I worked all of my life in engineering, I worked closely with European OEMs,
for most of my working life,
Housing was a subject that came up often over the years,


At present, I am looking at selling a timber-framed house built in 2006 that I have rented out if the present tenants move out,
I have direct built a few times in my lifetime,
I have a site in a good location retirement wise my first choice is a factory-built timber-framed house,
On my travels to Germany and Austria in the last few weeks, I have been checking up and getting feedback on newly built houses over there,
I am also now looking at a concrete design, the only wood is for Doors and Door frames which is standard enough design over there if you include a basement,
 
Last edited:

joe sod

Registered User
Messages
1,446
@Purple I heard Tom parlon of the construction federation talking about the issues there now. He made a surprising revelation that there is an off site factory ready to go to manufacture pods for apartment blocks and hotels where the design of the apartment or hotel room is the same and these can then be delivered and connected up to services on sire. The issue is that they don't have the throughput to start production, there are not enough projects big enough and with planning ready to go in order for them to start. Everything that is wrong seems to point back to government incompetence. He said a lot of the problems are in "kildare street"
 

Purple

Registered User
Messages
11,381
When we say 'the Government' we mean the State. The Government is a small number of transient people who are titularly in charge for a few year. The Government includes them and tens of thousands of State employees. Changing the boys and girls in the government, the elected bit, doesn't fix the problem and anyone whose been watching since they were old enough to watch knows that. 'The Government' is shorthand for the institutions of the State.

With that in mind.

  • Planning and massive delays from site purchaser to selling the properties, with all the associated costs: The Government
  • Building Regulations that aren't fir for modern methods of manufacturing: The Government
  • Land Hoarding and the fact that there's nothing done to stop it: The Government.
  • People being priced out of rental properties with their own money: The Government.
  • People being priced out of buying properties with their own money: The Government
Yes, they are a big part of the problem.
 

joe sod

Registered User
Messages
1,446
It'll take us another 30 years to reverse the "concrete built is better built" marketing campaign!
He also said that roofing now arrives in kit form pre assembled , however the price of these kits has gone up over 50% due to timber shortages. Irish timber can't get felling licenses due to the requirements for ecological studies which no other country in Europe is imposing and the government failed to pre empt the requirement for ecologists before bringing in this condition. He asked another great question, what's the point in having a semi state forestry company coillte when it cannot provide timber during a time like now of critical shortage.
Also the fact that the government closed down the whole construction industry also not done by anyone else meant that workers went to the U.K. and France during the lockdown s, they are provided with free accommodation on site over there so also not returning anytime soon.
 

Brendan Burgess

Founder
Messages
44,678
I spoke to someone who has retired recently from the sector.

It would not be practical to import modular built houses into Ireland due to the transport costs. Building or assembling houses is heavy work and it's better to site the source of the materials as close as possible to the destination.

We have some excellent construction companies and some great technical universities who would have the skills to develop this industry.

But the venture would require a guaranteed demand for many years to justify the initial expenditure e.g. The government buying 5,000 houses a year for ten years.

As far as he knows, there has been no research or feasibility study into the issue and that should be the first step for the government to commission a TU to check it out.

The flats in Ballymun were essentially manufactured on site by Sisks(?) and then assembled, so we have done it before. The fact that they were modular housing was not a reason for their failure.

Brendan
 

ryaner

Registered User
Messages
368
One issue I've been told while talking to some of the companies involved was that the house tend to be too air tight for Irish standards. The building standards here haven't caught up with modern air recycling so you have the wonderful case of insulating your house, then being required to cut a giant hole in the wall to stop the damp.

Really though where is the incentive for the industry to move in this direction when you have them quoting for "affordable" homes, meaning 1 bed apartments priced at 400k, and then bought by the councils. There is less profit in the markup when you can build something in less time and base cost.
 

Leo

Moderator
Messages
12,786
One issue I've been told while talking to some of the companies involved was that the house tend to be too air tight for Irish standards. The building
Can you expand on that? Our regs include details on how to achieve the ventilation requirements for air-tight building envelopes...
 

Purple

Registered User
Messages
11,381
Really though where is the incentive for the industry to move in this direction
That's the crux of it. The State is the biggest player in the construction sector in that they are the biggest buyer, the biggest developer and they set the standards. They have the leverage and clout at every stage of the process to change things but they seem to lack the organisational imagination and intellect.
We are very badly served by the organs of State in this country. That's the conversation we need to have.
 

ryaner

Registered User
Messages
368
Can you expand on that? Our regs include details on how to achieve the ventilation requirements for air-tight building envelopes...
Admittedly is a few years since I last looked at building a house but at the time we were told that options like heat recovery systems were possible, but to meet the initial standards, vents in the walls were required, then afterwards we could seal them back up again and use the hrv. If they requirement has changed since, great.
We did get similar issues insulating the house we bought later on. One comical one being the bathroom where the inspector said the bathroom needed a vent and argued that the 3 foot long velux window with a vent wouldn't be enough.

Based on some searching it is looking like some regs changed in 2020 with the EU’s nZEB standard that might actually allow a hrv without also having holes in the wall in every room.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Leo

RetirementPlan

New Member
Messages
35
Phoenix Magazine mentions that Jamie Moran Homes are building four houses on Charleston Road , D6

using a cast concrete construction technique that involves the "manufacture" of the building offs-site before the various sections are assembled onsite

Jamie himself doesn't exactly hide his light under a bushel (veteran of The Apprentice and Room to Improve) so he might well be open to a bit of publicity around doing a case study on this.
 
Top