Despite the challenges, there are grounds for optimism in the local construction industry

The bleak picture that some sections of the UK media paints of the construction industry isn’t what we’re experiencing on the ground.

Certainly within the residential sector at least. Granted, the 2022 Conservative mini-budget, interest rate hike and cost of living had a profound effect on the property market from last autumn, but the deep recession the UK media refers to just doesn’t seem to be materialising in Northern Ireland.

Circumstances here have always been different to Great Britain due to the significant public sector workforce we possess.

Additionally, the NI Water delay on foul sewer connections has only served to exacerbate the drastic undersupply of much needed new homes.

Housing demand in Northern Ireland prevails despite the challenging circumstances we all find ourselves in.

Indeed, Fraser Partners had higher than expected sales in January than what we might have imagined at the tail end of last year. Other developers have reported similar levels of activity, which is great news as it demonstrates that people are still seeking to move into quality, new build homes that are better insulated and more sustainability built – rather than fixating on price alone.

At Fraser Partners, we have planning approvals that precede new building regulations, but, as a young company, we want to be recognised as an eco-developer that delivers homes with low running costs.

That is why we have adopted renewable technologies across all of our developments. For instance, our Whitehem development in Ardmillan, Killinchy is the rst to roll out Panasonic Air Source Heat pumps on mass scale as a low cost, low carbon, alternative to oil and gas for heating a home.

Similarly, at our Mealough Road site in south Belfast, solar panels with battery storage, large glass frontages and cabling for EV chargers are all geared towards reducing the homeowners carbon footprint and monthly bills.

This ethos is enthusiastically shared by my siblings and fellow managing partners Andrew and Victoria.

We grew up in a family that was immersed in the construction industry.

Both our grandfather and our dad were pioneering developers here and often at the forefront of design and innovation in house building.

We knew that to succeed in this industry, we must remain ahead of the curve and not simply deliver something that’s indistinguishable from the development around the corner.

We use the phrase “surprise and delight” on our website and that’s really our mantra.

When someone visits one of our show homes, they’ll experience something totally different both in terms of architectural layout and internal design and function.

We have carefully considered how modern families live and catered our homes to suit, maximising open plan living, redesigning kitchens as the heart of the home, and incorporating smart security to make life as comfortable as possible for our residents.

We believe that quality residential design, excellent workmanship and a high spec finish will receive the recognition it deserves, regardless of external pressures and economic circumstances.

James Fraser