The construction industry in Northern Ireland is facing headwinds and activity is expected to slow down further for the rest of the year.
This is reported by the trade association RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), which reported that the workload among its members had fallen for the fourth consecutive quarter in the three months to the end of March.
It attributed the slump to the inflationary environment driving up material costs and resulting in shrinking profit margins. The situation in Northern Ireland seems more difficult than the rest of the UK, according to the quarterly RICS survey of its members in the construction sector
All subsectors in the province reported a drop in workload, including public housing, private housing, private commerce and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the majority of construction companies responding to the survey reported declining profits and, worryingly, are expected to remain under pressure.
RICS NI Construction spokesman Jim Sammon said the industry is facing headwinds, not helped by a lack of leadership at Stormont.
“The industry continues to face major challenges with cost increases and workload decreases and persistent skills shortages,” he said. “We see that surveyors in Northern Ireland are not as optimistic as in other parts of the UK.
“Northern Ireland has not had a functioning government, which makes things more challenging for the construction industry. Public sector work is a large part of construction activity in NI and without an executive there is a lack of certainty about budgets and the pipeline of work. RICS in Northern Ireland is calling for a working NI Executive to ensure that the necessary investment in the economy and our infrastructure can be delivered efficiently and in a timely manner.”