Renovations in lockdown: ‘There is no timeline to completion’

Renovations in lockdown: ‘There is no timeline to completion’
From The Irish Times – Life & Style – Alanna Gallagher – May 9, 2020


What happens when you finally get your dream home project off the ground, only for Covid-19 to shut down the build?

In her article, Alanna Gallagher explores some of the impacts Covid-19 is having on Ireland’s residential construction sector.

This is a summary of some key points in the article. Read the full article here


New safety measures will affect timelines

Maintaining physical distancing will undoubtedly mean delays on site and a loss of productivity which in turn will lead to extended timelines for build completion.

The Construction Industry Federation has introduced measures to increase site safety to meet Government guidelines and get the industry moving again. Already 60,000 contractors have completed the CIF’s Covid-19 Induction.

Sites mid-build & fixed price contracts

Where work had commenced but was not finished at the time of the lockdown, contractors endeavoured to secure sites and protect anything vulnerable. In general, “A builder won’t have installed anything that can be damaged if the roof isn’t yet on. Furnishings generally don’t go in until the windows do,” says architect Denise O’Connor of Optimise Design.

Contractors are doing what they can to prepare and are anxious to resume works. However, clients should be prepared to discuss changes to original timeframes and any knock on costs affecting contracts due to Covid-19 and the new industry measures in place.

It is also unclear how the supply chain will be affected. Some things will have an increased lead time, eg Italian tiles. Perhaps the real issues though are further down the track with production/supply delays, eg plywood & MDF.


Contractors have been keeping lines of communication open, checking on clients and keeping an eye on developments during lockdown. Unfortunately, some contractors will have gone out of business and we feel for people dealing with this reality and difficulties communicating.

The full effect on the industry due to recent events is yet to be seen, so flexibility is requested, especially during this initial period of adjustment.

Labour shortages

Like in the last recession, some residential contractors may be tempted to sub-contract instead to larger commercial companies and ongoing affordable housing development projects. “If so, will the residential sector lose the talent working in it and push the costs of renovation even higher and out of the hands of ordinary buyers?”

This possibility coupled with foreign labour as yet unable to return will result in labour shortages.

At Sycamore, we look forward to getting back to work but are mindful of the complexities we face in the months ahead.

Contributions to the Irish Times article from Lisa O’Brien of O’Brien Quantity Surveyors, Denise O’Connor of Optimise Design (Architect) & Paul Brazil of Brazil & Associates Architects.

The government have advised works will be allowed on site from Monday May 18th, with social distancing. This is part of phase one in reopening the economy

No matter what your project is, we can ensure the highest quality work at affordable prices.

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