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Focus: Construction sector sets its sights on rebuilding after Covid

With many forecasters predicting a tough year for the construction sector, is the industry feeling the pain on the ground?

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Some in the industry have estimated build costs for homes could increase by up to 10pc based on new safety measures and the associated costs (stock image)

Some in the industry have estimated build costs for homes could increase by up to 10pc based on new safety measures and the associated costs (stock image)

Some in the industry have estimated build costs for homes could increase by up to 10pc based on new safety measures and the associated costs (stock image)

On March 28, the cranes, heavy-duty delivery trucks and forklifts that carry out work on sites the length and breadth of the country were stopped in their tracks. Covid-19 and the ensuing pandemic meant Ireland's construction sector was told to down tools for an indefinite period of time.

The construction sector, a vital component of our economic engine responsible for building the roads we drive on, the houses we live in and the places in which we work, had finally stalled. It was one of the last sectors to go into temporary hibernation.

For many businesses, the impact was immediate. Matt Gough, innovation director at construction firm Mace, said he had never seen anything quite like it throughout his career. "We're not sure the sector has experienced anything like the impact of Covid-19," he said. "Our workforce went from 1,400 people on site to zero during the lockdown.