Construction output down in last quarter of 2018 says report

Construction output in Northern Ireland was down in the last quarter of 2018, new government data shows
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THERE was a marked slowdown in the north's construction sector in the last three months of 2018 after nearly five years of growth, new government figures show.

According to the latest NI construction bulletin, the total volume of building output decreased by 4 per cent quarter-on-quarter and was 1.7 per cent lower than the same period 2017.

The biggest slump came in repair and maintenance work (down 6.8 per cent) while there was a 0.4 per cent decrease in new work.

Broken into sectors, there were decreases in housing (down 12 per cent) and other work (down 7.5 per cent) but infrastructure work was up 13.3 per cent on the previous quarter.

Commenting on the findings, Neal Taylor from business advisory firm Grant Thornton in Belfast said: “Although there will be some concern that most sub-sectors of the industry experienced a decline, these were offset to a degree by the double-digit uplift over the quarter in the amount of infrastructure work carried out.

“It meant the volume of infrastructure output rose by 25.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2017, to reach a five-year high."

He added: “Following the much-publicised logjam of local infrastructure projects, recent announcements that schemes such as the Belfast Transport Hub and Belfast power station have been given the green light provide signs that the wheels are starting to turn again and provides some positivity for the construction sector against an otherwise uncertain backdrop.”

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