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Press release

20 NOV 2017

Construction sector stagnates for second successive quarter

Northern Ireland’s construction sector stagnated for a second successive quarter as a lack of public spending continued to impact on the industry, according to the latest RICS and Tughans Northern Ireland Construction & Infrastructure Market Survey.

View and download the survey

Respondents cited the lack of a functioning Executive at Stormont as key impediment to the sector, impacting on confidence, as well as the availability of funding for projects.

As a result, in the third quarter of the year, growth in the Northern Ireland construction sector lagged significantly behind the rest of the UK, which saw relatively steady growth, and all other UK regions, according to the survey.

Of all the sub-sectors, only the private housing and private commercial sectors were reported to have experienced growth in the quarter. Notably, Northern Ireland respondents reported that infrastructure workloads fell for the third quarter in succession.

Looking 12 months ahead, Northern Ireland surveyors also remain significantly less optimistic than their counterparts in the rest of the UK when it comes to expectations for workloads and profit margins.

"Weakness in public sector activity has led to a stagnation in the local construction sector, with infrastructure, public housing and public-non-housing activity falling back. A lack of investment in infrastructure in Northern Ireland is a long-standing issue, but anecdotal evidence from chartered surveyors suggests the current political situation is a factor. However, there are a number of other factors impacting on the local construction as well, including uncertainty in relation to Brexit and challenges in the planning process," said Jim Sammon, RICS Northern Ireland construction spokesman.