One company, 5,000 homes a quarter
Yesterday one of the largest homebuilders in the US, Lennar Corporation @Lennar topped analysts forecasts by building 4,806 homes in the last three months. That’s nearly 20,000 homes a year - enough to single-handedly fix this country’s 25,000 a year house shortage. So why doesn’t An Taoiseach call the Lennar CEO and invite him (it is a him) to the ‘Best Little Country without Enough Homes’ and ask him when could he start?
One Taoiseach, no action
That could be because the wider Irish public sector is involved? The various departments of this, that and the other have known for five years or more that there’s a massive shortage of housing and they have done nothing. It is a Taoiseach’s role to lead or to put it more colloquially, to kick ass. We have seen no such boot to bottom.
Another public sector myth
The commentariat, no doubt, will continue to peddle the myth that the public sector, in the form of local authorities, has the knowledge, experience and capability to build homes on the grand scale. They don’t. Big projects need big project experience and local authorities, for good or evil, have had any of that knowledge drained out of them many, many moons ago.
Project funding, the porn of engineers
Engineers fantasise about what they could do if only they were given more and more money. We’ve never heard of a construction engineer say that enough is enough. To illustrate this point, this morning’s newspaper reminds us that delays to the National Children’s Hospital will cost €40m in waste on the Mater site and a further €60m in inflation costs. Media coverage at the time of the sale of the National Lottery, in 2013, clearly implied that the sale price of the lottery, €405m, was going to pay for the hospital. According to Paul Cullen @paulcullenit in today’s Irish Times the hospital, with the plans still sitting on the drawing board, is now going to cost €710m, and that’s before fit out. It’s enough to make an engineer faint.
250,000 built in a year
Back to houses. The housing shortage is a national disgrace. Adolf Hitler destroyed more than a million homes in the UK during the 2nd World War. Despite having no money post war, and relying on mainly manual labour, the UK government was able to build 250,000 houses a year for a period, just after that devastating war.
Are you out there Taoiseach?
Our non-existent government wasted seven hours chatting about housing with a ragbag of independent TDs the other day. Think of a sinking ship. Does the captain bring all hands on deck for a daylong chat about the sinking, or does he call on hands on deck to man the bilge pumps? The definition of a Taoiseach is a leader of the clan. What is missing at the moment is leadership. Taoiseach, you can find full details about Lennar at www.lennar.com