Yesterday's statement by Communities Minister Caral Ni Chuilin was very significant.
In moving to reform the landlord function of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the minister and the wider Executive are taking a major step towards removing a long-standing barrier to investment.
Much like Northern Ireland Water's infrastructure needs, the federation has long held the view that the maintenance needs of the 85,000 Northern Ireland Housing Executive properties cannot be met through the Executive's capital budget alone.
Models such as mutuals and co-operatives have a long track record of delivering sustainable levels of investment, based on borrowing that stops far short of much more controversial approaches such as privatisation.
This is therefore a solution which is, like the delivery model for new-build social housing by housing associations, the best of both worlds because it retains the oversight and accountability of the Housing Executive by the Executive and Assembly but enables them to reach beyond the constraints, such as recurrent one-year budgets, of public sector expenditure.
Unlocking the potential of the Housing Executive's landlord function in this manner will be a significant boost to the local construction industry in terms of new work that would, otherwise, have been held up for many years.
The construction industry is also very supportive of the minister's view that we need to build more housing of all types.
If, in the context of what the minister said, we consider new-build social housing exclusively, we are very supportive of any measureto grow the Social Housing Development Programme.
Approaches noted by the minister, such as utilising surplus public land and re-enabling the Housing Executive to itself take forward a new-build programme, undoubtedly need further exploration.
We look forward to further detail on how this reform package will be taken forward in the coming months, as well as continuing to engage with the minister and her department on the Housing Supply Strategy that is currently being developed.
However, it was also very notable in the minister's statement yesterday that her intent is to take forward as much of the changes as possible before the end of this mandate in 2022. That is a level of ambition which has been far too often lacking within the Executive since its restoration in 2007. That ambition alone should be cause for optimism.
It is now vital that ministers extend this collective ambition to reforming the structure and funding model of Northern Ireland Water.
Unlocking this before the end of current mandate would set Northern Ireland up for a transformational period in terms of infrastructure investment.
David Fry is assistant director of the Construction Employers Federation