Building firms fear Brexit and staff shortages
Brexit, skilled labour shortages, and slow progress in implementing sustainable housing policies were cited as key challenges facing suppliers to the construction sector at an industry summit.
A 'construction roundtable' held by the Guaranteed Irish business group in Dublin was organised to hear directly from members about challenges that they are facing and the steps needed to achieve sustainable construction in future years.
Before the event, Guaranteed Irish, whose 300 plus members include CRH, Tegral, and Kingspan, surveyed its construction-supplier members and found that one in three feel Brexit is posing a major challenge to their business. In addition, 28pc feel that problems in the broader housing sector are affecting their work, while 12pc are concerned by the lack of skilled labour and associated recruitment difficulties.
"Almost two-thirds of our construction-sector members export, and they are heavily dependent on the British and Northern Ireland markets. It comes as no surprise, then, that Brexit is the main area of concern for most members," Brid O'Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish, said.
Those in attendance at the event called for accelerated infrastructure and housing programmes, VAT reductions, and simpler planning laws to stimulate the construction sector.
In relation to issues in the broader housing sector, Ms O'Connell said Guaranteed Irish would work proactively with government to ensure the sector is stimulated and developed in a more sustainable way.
"Our survey showed our members are hampered by rising costs in the construction sector, as well as the fact that insufficient numbers of houses are being built. Lack of balanced growth in the regions was also highlighted as a concern, as was the difficulty in accessing finance for working capital," she said.