Belfast Telegraph

Construction sector in Ulster 'set to grow by 1.6%'

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland's construction industry will experience growth in output of around 1.6% over the next four years, according to a forecast.

The Construction Industrial Training Board's industrial insights report said the new work category would lead the growth, with a rate of expansion of 1.8%.

Growth would be weaker in the repair and maintenance category, at 1%, and construction in the sector as a whole would increase by 0.4% a year on average between now and 2021.

Neal Taylor, audit and assurance partner at business advisory firm Grant Thornton, said: "It is encouraging to note that the Northern Ireland construction industry is expected to grow at an average of 1.6% over this period, which is almost in line with the overall UK average rate of 1.7%."

But the report was downbeat on the industry's performance last year.

The study said 2015 had been "the first year since 2007 that Northern Ireland's construction industry has finally seen some decent growth, largely driven by good performances in the housing and public non-housing sectors".

And it added that strong growth had not been sustained in 2016, and anticipated that output over the year as a whole would show a modest fall.

The forecast up to 2021 has been affected by the unpredictable nature of last year, the report explained.

"Events have injected a considerable amount of global uncertainty into the system, leading to more cautious predictions for the outlook," it added.

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