We need to plan for urbanised populations.
Like many countries Ireland is urbanising, with more and more people expected to live in cities in future. In a series looking at urban areas in Ireland, this winter edition of the Surveyors Journal focuses on Waterford. Growing successful urban areas requires imagination and Waterford is planning one of the most significant developments in its history. The plan to redevelop the long-neglected north quays with a pedestrian bridge certainly looks exciting. Like in many cities in Ireland, a concern for companies from abroad contemplating investment in Waterford is housing for staff, and I was interested to hear from Des Purcell that there is a strong first-time buyer element to demand but with limited supply. Internationally, the trend is towards walkable, compact cities, easily navigable by bikes and public transport, and the plan for the north quays should allow for this and play a part in providing the interesting urban spaces demanded by many of those who work in high-value industries.
I was interested to read John Slevin’s piece on the Construction Contracts Act 2013 where he notes the differences between legislation here and in the uK. John says that certain aspects of this Act need to be treated with caution and he makes his case very well. I am sure all construction professionals should read this piece with particular interest.
The management of multi-unit developments (MUDs) is an area where many problems exist and where the Society has made a significant contribution by highlighting issues and pointing to solutions. In their article, Finbar McDonnell and Kevin Hollingsworth point out that an MuD needs a good sinking fund and note that most have established one. Worryingly, however, a very large majority of agents report that less than a quarter of these funds are adequate. As noted above, the future is urban and many more people will live in MUDs. It is imperative that they are well managed and don’t deteriorate. Sinking funds are of critical importance to the future of MUDs and to ensuring that the value of apartments is sustained in future.
We have to get the management of MUDs right in the interest of creating those interesting urban areas that will attract workers.