The Irish construction industry is projected to grow by 14 per cent to €19.5 billion this year, after increasing 18 per cent in value terms last year, engineering multinational Aecom has forecast.
However, Aecom Ireland said it had ongoing concerns about Ireland’s relatively slow pace of housing, transport and utility infrastructure development.
“The residential sector and transportation and utilities infrastructure have not kept up with the demands of a growing economy,” said John O’Regan, head of buildings and places for Aecom in the Republic.
Mr O’Regan questioned the number of “shovel-ready” projects available for the planned increase in public capital spending this year. “It is hard to identify which projects, due for completion in 2018, are going to significantly alleviate immediate pressures.”
Aecom Ireland said workers from overseas and returning emigrants would be crucial to future employment growth in construction, as recruitment becomes “a challenge”.
Tender prices rose 7 per cent last year and are expected to increase 6.6 per cent this year, while construction costs are likely to rise 3.5 per cent due to the higher cost of labour and materials.
Aecom places the cost of building a residential apartment at €1,600-€2,000 per square metre in the Republic and £1,000-£1,575 (€1,125-€1,773) in Northern Ireland.
Despite political uncertainty, Aecom expects a “stable year” for the construction industry in the North.