The Director General of the Construction Industry Federation has said he "misspoke" in Leinster House this week when he said the cost of complex projects will increase by 40% due to the enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions.

On Tuesday, Tom Parlon told the Dáil Covid-19 committee that the cost of complex projects would increase by 40% and the cost of building a house would rise by 5-10%.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sarah McInerney, he explained what he meant to say was that "productivity will be reduced by up to 40% on complex projects while severe regulations are in place".

He added: "I misspoke on that. What I meant to say is that productivity will be reduced by up to 40% on complex projects while severe regulations are in place.

"I didn't clarify the situation but I'm happy to clarify it now. It wasn't my intention, that's not a CIF view. Everyone is going to be working very hard to improve on productivity.

"I don't think there will be anything as mad as 40% increase in the cost. Productivity certainly will be impacted," he said.

In relation to house prices, he said a house builder has suggested to him that house prices would go up "between €10,000 and €15,000. If you take that as a percentage that's between 2.5 - 4%".

Mr Parlon said he would not speculate on the possible rising costs of projects.

"Companies have their own estimators and chartered surveyors working on that, and we won't be able to calculate the cost until the situation beds down."

But he said adherence to social distancing measures will increase the timescales of projects proportionately.

"The timescales of two-year projects for example could end up taking four or five years, due to the fallout from social distancing measures because headcounts are reduced on most sites," he said. 

"I quoted a figure myself for a very big installation, which would have needed 1,600 people and the maximum was 500 to 600. So you can imagine if you only have one third of the workforce, it is going to extend the period by three times the amount," he explained.

"If a group of engineers and machinery drivers are working on a motorway project working on a mainly individual basis there is not going to be much impact. 

"But if you need 100 people inside fitting out and installing complex equipment the reduction in headcount will reduce productivity," he stated. 

Mr Parlon said unions representing workers have received positive feedback from 90% of workers since the reopening of sites.

The Health and Safety Authority have "carried out dozens of inspections", according to Mr Parlon.

"There have been dozens perhaps 100 plus. The HSA are empowered if they find non-compliance to close sites. The CIF don't condone any non-compliance," he said.

On the issue of social housing, Mr Parlon said the CIF will continue to engage with the new government.

"Capacity to build will not be the problem, as soon as the new housing policy is put in place, particularly in relation to social housing. When the incentive is there, the houses will be built," he said.

He said while safety remains paramount on sites, he believes production and efficiency will increase as many in the industry are aware that the capacity of first time buyers after this pandemic is over is going to be limited.

"There is full appreciation in the industry that we will have to reduce costs to a minimum," he said.