Construction stagnates for second successive quarter

Only private housing and the private commercial sectors saw growth
Only private housing and the private commercial sectors saw growth

Northern Ireland’s construction sector stagnated for a second consecutive quarter as a lack of public spending continued to impact on the industry, according to the latest Construction & Infrastructure Market survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and law firm Tughans.

Respondents cited the lack of a functioning Executive at Stormont as a key impediment to the sector, impacting on confidence, as well as the availability of funding for projects.

As a result, in the third quarter of the year, growth in the local construction sector lagged significantly behind the rest of the UK, which saw relatively steady growth, and all other UK regions, according to the survey.

Only the private housing and private commercial sectors were reported to have experienced growth in the quarter. Notably, infrastructure workloads fell for the third quarter in succession, with surveyors also significantly less optimistic than their GB counterparts over expectations for workloads and profit margins.

“Weakness in public sector activity has led to a stagnation in the local construction sector, with infrastructure, public housing and public-non-housing activity falling back,” said RICS NI construction spokesman Jim Sammon.

“A lack of investment in infrastructure is a long-standing issue, but anecdotal evidence from chartered surveyors suggests the current political situation is a factor.”

Tim Kinney, construction partner with Tughans said: “The construction sector remains crucial to the local economy in terms of employment, its supply chain, and the benefits it delivers to society, and government must play its role in creating an enabling environment so that essential investment, including in infrastructure, can happen.”