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Rising cost of building materials is biggest post-Brexit fear for Irish firms – CSO

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The CSO said 65pc of firms in the construction sector expressed worries about rising costs

The CSO said 65pc of firms in the construction sector expressed worries about rising costs

Rising prices for timber, plastics, and insulation drive up building costs

Rising prices for timber, plastics, and insulation drive up building costs

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The CSO said 65pc of firms in the construction sector expressed worries about rising costs

The rising cost of building materials is the biggest post-Brexit worry for Irish firms, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has found.

A survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) published today found that price hikes were the biggest concern for 42pc of companies.

That fear was heightened in the construction sector, where 65pc expressed worries, the CSO said.

Trouble transporting goods was also a major concern for firms, the CSO said, with 47pc in industry, 38pc in services, and 30pc in the construction sector expressing worries.

The CSO survey also found that more than 60pc of smaller firms took no steps to prepare for Brexit, despite 21pc believing it would have negative effects.

Shane Dempsey, director of communications at the Construction Industry Federation, said competition for skills and materials in the industry since January - particularly for timber - has led to “eye-watering increases in input costs”.

While some Brexit effects might even out over time, he said the bulk of the price rises are likely to be permanent.

“It will lessen as we become used to dealing with the effects [of Brexit] on customs,” he told the Irish Independent.

“But there is probably going to be a permanent hike in terms of tariffs, which will be absorbed along the system.”

Nama CEO Brendan McDonagh told reporters this week that the construction sector, where the agency funds many schemes and firms, is experiencing significant price hikes that will result in higher prices for home buyers and lower margins for firms.

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An Irish Homebuilders Association survey last month said Brexit-related delivery delays on materials such as bricks could add €12,000-€15,000 to the cost of an average three-bedroom home by the end of this year.

The survey said the cost of concrete, brick, insulation and timber have all gone up by between 4pc and 15pc since December 2019, while the costs of shipping and transport shot up by 32pc.

And a March report by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) showed that house rebuilding costs spiked by 7.3pc nationally over previous 18 months, meaning that homeowners could face increasing insurance premiums.


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