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Work stalled on building sites due to lack of materials as gloom in sector deepens

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Output is down across the building sector here with work on some sites held up by problems acquiring materials, a report has said. (stock photo)

Output is down across the building sector here with work on some sites held up by problems acquiring materials, a report has said. (stock photo)

Output is down across the building sector here with work on some sites held up by problems acquiring materials, a report has said. (stock photo)

Output is down across the building sector here with work on some sites held up by problems acquiring materials, a report has said.

Work stopped on most building projects in Northern Ireland at the start of lockdown in March.

Now a report by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and law firm Tughans has found that nearly five months on, workloads remain depressed across the sector.

Michael McCord, senior partner at Tughans, warned construction may need additional support from the Chancellor as it deals with the repercussions of Brexit as well as the continued impact of coronavirus.

Looking ahead, surveyors here expect workloads and profit margins to fall - a gloomier outlook than around the UK.

Respondents to the survey for the second quarter of the year suggested that spending by the Executive on capital projects was down. Spending on 'shovel ready' capital projects had been cited as one way to kick start the economy following the pandemic.

Some surveyors observed that problems acquiring materials were causing issues with projects, while private and public housing work, as well as infrastructure activity, were down.

Construction spokesman Jim Sammon said the sector needed support from government to play a role in recovery.

Mr McCord added that it was "a real concern" that surveyors here are so pessimistic about future workloads.

"The economic uncertainty resulting from Covid-19 will no doubt be the driving factor, but Brexit is also of course a real challenge for Northern Ireland companies. "Government has provided considerable support to businesses and the economy since March but many, not least in Northern Ireland, will be looking to the Chancellor for further stimulus in the autumn."

Belfast Telegraph