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Timber could speed up housing delivery - Francis Noel Duffy

In yesterday's Housing Committee, Deputy Duffy raised the need to use timber as a quicker, cheaper and greener building material to deliver homes.


You [Minister Darragh O'Brien] noted delivery in the context of speed, and I was at a conference yesterday and from what I know myself, timber frame houses have a superior procurement trait compared to conventional methods.

They said in the conference yesterday that up to 50% of homes at the moment have been built from timer frame which is great to hear in such a short period of time that we've got to that rate. There is however a logjam in apartments generally, as I know you know, but there's probably a bigger logjam in timber apartments and the use of mass timber. They have been built all over the world, providing many benefits not least cost, but there is a major problem in the context of fire in our building regs, Part B.

There's a prohibitive clause which I think was brought in in the original regulations in 1983, where it prohibits using timber in buildings - we've gone a long way since then and I know there's a review of the fire regs coming up. It would be interesting, if you can, talk to that because its far quicker building with those materials which is proven across the planet

In the context of speed, delivery, densities and cost, section 28 review on densities; there's an opportunity here to increase densities in urban areas similar to existing densities, the likes of Stoneybatter, Portobello- I know it's not exactly that model but there's very high denisities in inner city living. There's also St Patrick's in Cork

The review of densities, you have to build correctly and plan correctly, which will reduce costs to the purchaser. I'd be grateful if you could speak to the Part B review if possible, Section 28.

There's also the Climate Plan and embodied carbon, which we've talked about here [in Housing Committee] and that measurement [of carbon in buildings], if that comes in it will facilitate and educate the industry to understand where you can make savings and really where it's coming in the short term will be through timber

Timber is fast to build - there's a whole load of gamit of things. We've got a lot of timber coming on line in this country that needs to be used so could you please in any way speak to those.

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