Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland construction industry still worst performing in UK

BY CLARE WEIR

Northern Ireland continues to be the worst performing UK region in a new survey of the construction sector.

However the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Construction Market Survey said that the balance for workloads in Northern Ireland is at its best level for five years.

In the three months to the end of June, the balance for workloads in Northern Ireland improved to -4, its best level since the start of 2008, from -32 in the previous three months.

However, despite the improvement, activity was still falling.

RICS NI construction spokesman Jim Sammon welcomed the improvements in Northern Ireland, but said that we remain some way from a recovery.

"The key challenges for the sector remain," he said.

"Finance is constrained, private sector activity remains scarce, and public sector demand remains constrained.

"We would urge the NI Executive to take action in relation to increasing infrastructure spending in Northern Ireland by moving more money from current to capital spending. Beyond being a driver of growth, infrastructure is the fabric of our everyday lives that must remain efficient and well maintained."

John Armstrong, managing director of the Construction Employers' Federation, said that he endorsed the findings of the RICS survey.

"We see things as much more upbeat than in previous years," he said.

A survey last month showed the first increase in construction and manufacturing orders in Northern Ireland since 2007.

According to the Ulster Bank purchase managers' index for June, new business increased, with companies saying that clients were growing in confidence and placing new orders.

Belfast Telegraph

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