Construction cost inflation and skills shortages are the among the main challenges facing the Government in the implementation of its 'Housing for All' plan.

The proposal to significantly escalate the delivery of new homes will likely put further upward pressure on costs in the coming years.

Brian Coogan, CEO of the Irish Plant Contractors Association, said it was down to simple supply and demand economics.

"Demand is very strong at moment. There seems to be an inability of the supplier to keep up with that demand," he explained.

The shortage of skilled labour in the industry is further adding to cost pressures.

"Workers are simply not there at the moment," Brian Coogan said.

Paul Mitchell, Director of Mitchell McDermott Construction Consultants, said the labour shortage had existed pre-Covid but that it had deteriorated since the onset of the pandemic.

"Labour has moved out of Ireland. We need a campaign to get workers in here, whether it's Irish people coming home or construction workers returning from other countries," he said.

"That's an immediate action that we need."

He said planning was another area that needed to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

Quoting figures from the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCSI), Mr Mitchell said delays arising from judicial reviews added between €8,000 and €12,000 to the cost of a housing unit.

"It is addressed in here but a review won't finish until mid-2022. That's too long. Units are being held up today," he said.

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"There are a lot of objectives about reviewing the planning code, the move back from the fast track permission route to a new large scale residential development route, but it's not going to stop the issue of actual permission granted being stopped by judicial reviews, in some cases for frivolous reasons, and that has to be addressed," he added.

Despite the challenges, Mr Mitchell said he believed the government objectives were achievable.

"We need to give it a few years to prove itself," he said.

The SCSI agreed that immediate focus needed to be brought to removing what it referred to as the 'myriad barriers' that exist to the building of housing units.

"Planning delays, procurement issues, access to critical infrastructure, including water as well as labour and skills shortages all need individual targets and plans to meet overall goals," TJ Cronin, SCSI President said.

"These are the issues which frustrate and ultimately delay housing delivery, and which make it such a challenge for our citizens to secure affordable homes."

He called for greater collaboration between the private and public sectors, as well as between different government departments, in order to meet the objectives in the plan on the delivery of homes.