Belfast Telegraph

Impact of Stormont deadlock on public works hits building sector

‘Instability’: Jim Sammon
‘Instability’: Jim Sammon
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

House building was the only sector within Northern Ireland's construction industry not to report a decline in the second quarter of 2019, a new report out today has said.

The latest Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and law firm Tughans reported further declines in building activity during the three months to June.

The industry survey suggested that private house building remained the only sector showing signs of growth here.

The number of surveyors reporting rising workloads in private housing activity during the quarter hit the highest rate since early 1999.

Twelve month forecasts for employment and workloads also rose, showing some signs of optimism within the industry.

But Northern Ireland remained the only region of the UK where overall workloads were reported to be in decline.

Infrastructure, public housing and public non housing sub-sectors continue to be in marked decline, said the report, with respondents to the survey indicating that the lack of an Executive and Assembly is hindering the allocation of funding for projects in Northern Ireland.

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Brexit uncertainties were also perceived to be affecting investment, with private industrial and private commercial workloads falling.

RICS spokesperson for Northern Ireland, Jim Sammon, said: "The new-build private housing market continues to perform well.

"However, construction activity is no doubt affected by ongoing political instability, which has had a considerably negative impact on public works in particular."

Head of real estate at Tughans, David Jones, added: "Undoubtedly, one of the main external factors affecting the construction sector is the current political landscape.

"Projects and works that require the allocation of funding cannot be progressed, and the situation has a knock-on effect on other areas, leading to increased caution when it comes to investment decisions."

Belfast Telegraph