Northern Ireland construction firms struggling

Northern Ireland’s largest construction firms are struggling, according to the latest survey from the Construction Employers’ Federation and PwC.


The survey suggests that 34 per cent of large construction companies here are struggling to stabilise their business and 16 per cent are operating in survival mode. The survey also suggests that only 19 per cent of Northern Ireland’s construction companies were operating at full capacity in the three months to the end of June, down from last year’s figure of 21 per cent.


Commenting on the survey, Dr Esmond Birnie, PwC’s chief economist in Northern Ireland said the survey results reflect other economic data which suggests our economic recovery is slowing. Birnie highlighted the Ulster Bank Purchasing Managers Index for August, which shows declining levels of output, orders and employment and claimed that Northern Ireland’s construction industry has been the most severely impacted sector with the current level of output remaining around 40 per cent lower than the level experienced pre-2007.

“Looking forward, there is no clear consensus of sector-wide optimism; 33 per cent of companies expect economic prospects in Northern Ireland to improve; 21 per cent of respondents expect things to worsen, while 38 per cent foresee no change,” he said.


Oliver McAllister, PwC director and construction and real estate leader, says the survey supports the wider contention that recovery is slowing. He claims that since the autumn of 2014, overall measures of business confidence have been mixed.


“Overall, combining the wider economic indicators with the state of trade survey, we remain apprehensive about the outlook for the construction sector in Northern Ireland,” he said.

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