Belfast Telegraph

Office boom in London helps to keep Northern Ireland afloat


While office-building in Northern Ireland has ground to a halt in the downturn, the pace of construction in London is sustaining hundreds of jobs in the province, a report claims.

Business advisors PwC said booming office developments in the UK capital, which has managed to withstand the ravages of recession, were delivering a £9m annual dividend and sustaining 230 jobs a year in Northern Ireland.

Other UK regions are also benefiting from London's continued economic pre-eminence, with the south east of England's economy coining it the most – 6,600 jobs a year and £280m gross value added.

PwC prepared the report for the business group London First, finding that for every £100m spent on office development in the capital, £54m goes to regions outside London.

The advisers were allowed access to confidential information on expenditure which was held by a sample of nine developers.

Kevin MacAllister, PwC Northern Ireland partner and private sector leader, said: "There has been anecdotal evidence of Northern Ireland construction companies working first on the Olympics and subsequently on London's office development programme.

"This report now places a value on the work in terms of cash and jobs and underlines the sheer scale of London's development and construction market.

"There are clearly real opportunities for local firms – particularly in some of the specialist trades like cladding and specialist mechanical supplies where over three-quarters of that spend still goes outside the UK.

"Overall, this serves to show how UK regions like Northern Ireland can share in the prosperity of the buoyant London office market."

The report said that while construction supported 12,200 in the capital every year, 22,400 were supported elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

Co Down cladding company Spanwall, which worked on the facade of Titanic Belfast, has worked on several London construction contracts, including an office block at 61 to 75 Alie Street and flats at Canada Water A4.

The 38 central London office developments which are covered by the study take up 6.7million sq ft and are equivalent to less than 10% of total London development.

Belfast Telegraph