Business

Outlook positive for NI's construction industry

THE recovery of Northern Ireland's construction sector is gaining momentum according to the latest report from surveyors.

The workloads balance in the north was at its highest level in almost 15 years in the Construction Market Survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) and Tughans.

The report found public housing, private housing, and private commercial sectors to have lead the way over the third quarter of this year.

The outlook was also positive, with the balance for workloads (plus 86), employment (plus 57), as well as profit margins (plus 50) looking a year ahead at record highs.

However, infrastructure and private industrial sector growth remained flat for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Rics director in the north Ben Collins, said: "Local chartered surveyors have seen their workloads rise for the fourth quarter in a row and are increasingly positive about the outlook, despite a lack of growth in infrastructure workloads and a number of economic headwinds to come, including public spending cuts. This can in part be explained by the increasing number of firms carrying out work outside of Northern Ireland, notably GB, as well as strong growth, from a relatively low base, in private housing and commercial workloads."

Michael McCord, construction partner at Tughans Solicitors added: "Overall, the survey results are encouraging, however, it should be remembered that they relate to the workloads of Northern Ireland construction surveyors as a whole and are not necessarily representative of increased construction activity within Northern Ireland itself. Construction activity in England and Scotland has experienced strong growth recently and a number of Northern Ireland firms with good reputations across the UK have been able to take advantage of this by winning contracts there. What we really want to see is the local construction sector experiencing sustained growth within Northern Ireland as well."

The report followed statistics which showed the number of new homes registered in the north jumped 71 per cent over the past year.

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