Business

Construction sector remains flat

NORTHERN Ireland's construction sector remained flat in 2014 according the latest sector bulletin, Published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra), the report show the total volume of construction output in the north to have decreased by 0.7 per cent in the third quarter of the year compared to the previous three months.

Output fell by 3.9 per cent year on year.

Over the quarter, the volume of new work fell by 0.9 per cent while repair and maintenance work declined slightly by 0.1 per cent.

There was a 6.2 per cent increase in other work but infrastructure output fell sharply by 11.2 per cent and housing output decreased by 1.9 per cent.

Nisra said after a downwards trend since 2007, construction output had been "broadly similar" over the first nine months of 2014.

The figures compared to an 0.8 per cent rise in construction output in Britain in the three months to the end of September.

The level of construction output in Northern Ireland was at 86 per cent of the average output reported in 2011, Nisra said.

John Armstrong, managing director of the Construction Employers Federation (CEF) said: "The figures for the third quarter confirm our sense that there was no meaningful recovery in construction output on the ground in Northern Ireland in 2014.

"In the year ahead we expect to see an increase in housing output and private sector work. However, a major question remains over the level of public sector investment in infrastructure and public buildings in 2015/16.

"We are still analysing the final budget but on the face of it capital investment will be significantly down on this year and maintenance spend will be reduced as well.

"The industry is concerned that this will further delay recovery in the sector and exacerbate Northern Ireland's infrastructure deficit."

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