Sunday 17 December 2017

Construction output still below European norms

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Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Construction output is set to grow by 15pc this year to just under €17bn, according to a new report.

While the predicted output level for the sector represents 7.5pc of GNP, it still falls well below the 10pc to 12pc which is recognised across Europe as sustainable.

Applying that European benchmark to the Irish construction sector, the 2017 Linesight Ireland Handbook estimates there is still capacity within the industry to achieve sustainable output between €23bn and €27bn. The Handbook, published today, is recognised by the construction industry as a leading source of key statistics, trending data and insights.

While the property industry is experiencing a strong recovery, challenges in relation to the availability of skilled personnel persist.

Referring to the challenge the dearth of construction professionals and skilled tradesmen presents, Linesight Ireland managing director, Richard Joyce, said: "We have seen a heartening increase in the levels of employment in the last three years, coming from a very low base in 2012 and 2013, along with sectoral expansion and continued investments in the industry.

"However skills shortages, in both specialist and traditional trades, continue to impact tender levels and construction inflation."

While Linesight welcomed the increases in activity in both the commercial and residential property sectors, it offers a cautionary note on the "external influences" that could hit the construction industry.

Unsurprisingly, those external influences include the unfolding consequences of Brexit and Donald Trump's election as US president. These events, Linesight says, "have created uncertainty, which is likely to negatively impact GDP for a number of economies".

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