Political stalemate in North strangling construction

Industry also cites concerns about Brexit dampening industry confidence

The absence of an Executive impacting on the sector but concerns about Brexit are also dampening industry confidence.

The absence of an Executive impacting on the sector but concerns about Brexit are also dampening industry confidence.

 

Northern Ireland’s paralysed political system has led to “stagnation” in the construction sector and dwindling workloads, industry chiefs are warning.

The latest Northern Ireland Construction & Infrastructure Market Survey, carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyor and Tughans, shows that not only is the absence of an Executive impacting on the sector but concerns about Brexit are also dampening industry confidence.

Latest figures for Northern Ireland show that in the third quarter of the year growth levels in the construction sector were significantly behind those across the UK in general.

Jim Sammon, RICS Northern Ireland construction spokesman, said local surveyors are now decidedly less optimistic about the future than their counterparts in the UK particularly when it comes to workloads and profits.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The results of the survey suggest that the private housing and private commercial sectors have continued to grow over the third quarter. But infrastructure workloads fell again for the third time in a row.