The head of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has said he “misspoke” when he claimed new safety measures put in place across large complex construction sites could increase costs by up to 40%.
Tom Parlon, director general of the CIF, said that infrastructure projects including the National Children’s Hospital, could see costs spiral even further.
Mr Parlon, who was speaking at the special Covid-19 Oireachtas committee, on Tuesday, also said that the new protocols could see additional costs of between 5-10% on new houses.
Speaking to Today With Sarah McInerney on Friday, he said he “mis-spoke” when he estimated the increases.
“I sort of mis-spoke and what I meant to say was that productivity will be reduced or could be reduced by up to 40% on those complex building projects.
“Certainly I was disappointed with the commentary and of course, I said it and I listened back to it….It wasn’t my intention to give that reflection.”
“I don’t think there’s any likelihood of anything as mad as a 40% rise in costs (for the National Children’s Hospital).”
“Productivity certainly will be impacted but this day a week ago the construction industry didn’t even know we were going back to work, we had to wait until about 4pm for the Taoiseach’s announcement.
“We have been back just four days now and we’re concerned that workers might not show up and that there would be other problems.”
On Monday, thousands of construction workers returned to sites across the State as phase one of easing restrictions was brought into effect.
Pressed as to why he repeated the 40% figure during the committee meeting, and did not clarify it since Tuesday, he said: “At an earlier stage, I talked about an actual price increase and I suggested that house prices would go up by between 10-15,000 (euro), so that percentage would be 2 to 5% so there was a little bit of a mix-up there and I didn’t clarify the situation and I’m very happy to clarify it now.”
“It is where it is.
“It wasn’t the intention to say 40%, that’s not the Construction Industry Federation view.”