Northern Ireland

Rics survey suggests NI construction growth 'bucks UK trend'

Construction worker Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The increase in construction activity in Belfast is because of a number of new hotel, office, and student accommodation projects

Rising costs do not appear to be dampening confidence in the building sector, research from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) suggests.

The survey indicated Northern Ireland was one of the few parts of the UK to see a pick-up in output growth in the final quarter of last year.

It added that a significant majority of respondents expect workloads to rise during the course of this year.

Rics research is published jointly with the Belfast law firm, Tughans.

'Concern'

Private house building is rising, as is private commercial activity but Northern Ireland infrastructure workloads are weak, and well below UK average.

The report said labour shortages and rising costs are increasingly concerning.

About half of surveyors saw a rise in costs and that has pushed up output prices.

The rising construction activity in Belfast is because of a number of new hotel, office, and student accommodation projects.

Rics construction spokesman, Jim Sammon, said: "The lack of growth in infrastructure workloads remains a key concern for Northern Ireland.

'Weak sterling'

"Infrastructure investment from both the private and public sectors is essential to delivering long term growth, particularly as we seek to continue to attract Foreign Direct Investment."

Michael McCord, from Tughans Solicitors, said: "Clearly some uncertainty lies ahead, and rising input costs may impact on profitability, but a weak sterling also has the potential to help increase the competitiveness of Northern Ireland companies working in the Eurozone."

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