Business

North's construction output jumps to seven-year high

The construction sector enjoyed a positive end to 2017, with the volume of work carried out at a seven-year high

THE volume of construction work carried out in the north at the end of 2017 was the highest recorded in seven years according to new government figures.

The latest Northern Ireland Construction Bulletin, published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) shows output in the sector for the last three months of the year was 3.6 per cent higher than the same period in 2016 and a 1.8 per cent increase on the previous quarter. According to the statistics the total volume of work reported in the last three months of the year was the highest recorded in seven years.

The substantial jump in overall output was accounted for by a 2.6 per cent increase in new work and a 1.4 per cent hike in repair and maintenance. There was also an increase in 'other work' of 4.1 per cent, while housing output remained at the same level. Infrastructure output fell by 5.5 per cent.

The positive figures continue a general upward trend in construction output, first noted in 2014.

Neal Taylor, audit partner at business advisory firm Grant Thornton Northern Ireland, said the latest figures were encouraging for the industry.

“The latest Northern Ireland Construction Bulletin, which shows that the level of work carried out in the industry during the final quarter of 2017 was at its highest in seven years, will provide a major boost to those involved in the sector, especially given the recent negative headlines in the media. It is encouraging also that much of the increased activity was accounted for by a 2.6 per cent rise in new work, the largest sub-sector, reversing a decline experienced in the previous three months."

“As anticipated by our clients in the construction industry, the overall figure was hampered by a 5.5 per cent decrease in infrastructure output, due largely to a sharp decline in new private infrastructure. By contrast, public infrastructure activity rose but remains relatively subdued compared to recent years," he added.

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