Majority of building firms to take on extra staff
MORE than half of Irish construction companies expect to grow their business this year – and take on new staff – amid renewed confidence in the sector.
Eight out of 10 firms are currently engaged in onsite construction activity, while 75pc plan to hire additional workers if revenues increase in the coming months.
And four out of 10 expect the number of tenders they submit in the next three months to increase, a new survey reveals.
Only 13pc believe they will see a drop in tendering over the same period.
A further sign of renewed vitality in the sector is reflected in 52pc of respondents saying they are more confident about the state of the industry compared with 12 months ago.
However, the latest Construction Confidence Index, a survey prepared by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), also captured some negative sentiment in parts of the building sector.
A lack of tenders emerged as the biggest issue, with 36pc citing it as the main impediment to expanding their business.
Inability to secure bank credit emerged as second on the list, while one in eight cited building costs in general as the biggest hurdle.
Tom Parlon, CIF director general, said the survey illustrated a marked change from the six years of decline since the financial crash.
"This underlines a point the CIF has been making for quite some time – the quickest way of creating jobs and reducing the numbers of unemployed is to grow construction sector activity," he said.
On the flipside, he said it was a concern that 29pc of businesses had experienced a decrease in activity over the last 12 months and more than one in four had submitted fewer tenders.
"This tallies with the feedback on the ground that activity is yet to pick up in certain geographical areas, and that certain sections within the industry are continuing to struggle.
"We have been making the point that access to credit has been a major problem for Irish construction companies. It is worrying that 32pc have said it is the biggest problem to growing their business."
He added: "Clearly this is an issue that the Government and the other stakeholders need to grasp – if we want to keep the construction sector growing – and get it back to a sustainable level of activity."