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Value of new construction projects increases sharply in first half of year





Nearly €3bn worth of new construction projects were started in the first six months of this year.

According to a new report from the Building Information Index, which tracks building related data, work commenced on projects worth €2.75bn up to June 2015.

That is an increase of 41pc on the same period last year, when only €1.9bn worth of projects began. While the figures represent a sharp increase, they are coming from a very low base. That means they can be easily skewed by a major project. Even one big ticket construction project can be worth as much as €100m.

Building Information Ireland managing director Danny O'Shea said the report "shows that the recovery in the construction sector is being felt across the whole of Ireland".

"Munster recorded the largest increase with gains of 116pc, while Dublin (34pc), Leinster (27pc) and Connacht/Ulster (8pc) also performed strongly," he said.

Building was spread across two main sectors. About €1.4bn of projects that were begun were related to the housing market - an increase of 44pc year on year.

Commercial and retail projects worth just over €600m were begun between January and June. That was up more than 140pc compared to this time in 2014.

The value of education projects, such as schools, slumped 37pc, while building work tied to agriculture dropped 12pc.

As well as new projects, planning applications for building work worth €7bn were made in the first half of the year. That compares to applications valued at €5.5bn previously.

Mr O'Shea said the report showed the construction sector was recovering.

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"The strong growth recorded in the first six months of 2015 in the value of applications, as well as the value of project commencements, is further evidence that the construction industry in Ireland is continuing to recover.

"Critically, the Building Information Index reveals that the source of funding which is driving this recovery is coming from the private sector. Funding from the private sector for applications was €6.4bn in the first six months of 2015, which represented an increase of 30pc when compared to the first half of 2014.

"By comparison, in the first six months of 2015, public sector funding for applications only increased by 2pc, rising to €584m from €573m in the first half of 2014," he added.

Those applications, however, are not likely to see construction start for sometime yet though.

According to the report, it takes an average of 74 weeks from when the application is made to work starting.

Construction projects in the residential sector were the slowest to get through this process, taking on average 139 weeks. Agriculture and education construction projects were the fastest at 51 weeks, followed by industrial at 57 weeks, commercial and retail at 59 weeks and medical at 63 weeks.

Even so, that lag time was down slightly on previous years. Mr O'Shea said this could be interpreted as a "further sign of improving sentiment in the market, as applicants and contractors are not taking as long to start projects".

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