Building sector decline continues
Activity in the Northern Ireland construction market has continued to decline, industry experts say.
The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Construction Market Survey, which records shifts in workloads for surveyors, was at its lowest point since the research began in 2000.
The study also found that Northern Ireland is the UK region with the largest number of construction sector chartered surveyors with declining workloads.
The data sparked calls for public funds to be directed towards building projects that could boost the construction sector and benefit the wider economy.
RICS Northern Ireland spokesman Jim Sammon said: "The large public spending cuts is a major factor depressing the local construction market, which is very public sector-driven.
"Whilst the enormous pressure on the public finances means that cuts are unavoidable, the importance of construction spend to the Northern Ireland economy and the need to invest in our infrastructure for long-term competitiveness must be taken into consideration in spending decisions.
"Northern Ireland's infrastructure has been under-funded for many years, and if we don't make the necessary investment now, our economy will continue to suffer from this well into the future."
He added: "Government should be focusing its resources on the areas that will have the most positive impact for the economy and society.
"We strongly believe that it is in the public interest to continue to prioritise public construction spending, both to ensure our society has the infrastructure it needs, and because of the high economic return investment in construction brings."
The survey detected a further decline in construction workloads in Northern Ireland over the last quarter, and at a faster pace than in the first quarter of the year.