Construction output sees further decline

Northern Ireland’s construction industry has noted a further decline in output in the first quarter of 2018, according to recent findings contained in the Northern Ireland Construction Bulletin.

As a key performance indicator, construction output statistics can provide an insight and general overview of Northern Ireland’s economy. 2015’s Gross Value Added (GVA) data for Northern Ireland demonstrates that the industry was estimated to account for 6 per cent of the country’s GVA.

The statistics have been released with the intention of providing a general measure of quarterly changes in both the volume and value of construction output as the year progresses, offering a comprehensive account of how the region is performing economically across a range of key indicators.

The first quarter of 2018 registered a 6.5 per cent decrease in the total volume of construction output compared with Q4 2017, making it 6.1 per cent lower compared to the same period in 2017. Despite this fall in output, levels of construction output remained broadly consistent in the four quarters which preceded it.

The overall decrease in output in 2018’s first quarter can be attributed to an 11.8 per cent decrease in Repair and Maintenance and a 6.7 per cent decrease in New Work (the building of any new structure). Indeed, compared to the previous quarter, Northern Ireland witnessed a 9.1 per cent decrease in Other Work, a 7.5 per cent decrease in Infrastructure and a 3.1 per cent decrease in housing in what represents a further fall in output compared to that of 2017. The statistics highlight that the volume of work, whilst variable, has been constantly higher than levels seen in 2015.

Q1 2018 has reflected a decline in Repair and Maintenance Output, with the construction subsector demonstrating an 11.8 per cent increase compared to the same quarter of the previous year – 2.1 per cent lower than the same quarter in 2017. Notably, Repair and Maintenance output levels in Q1 2018 have been reported as their lowest since Q4 2015.

The largest sub-sector of Q1 2018, Other Work, accounted for 41 per cent of Northern Ireland’s overall construction output. This figure was closely followed by Housing at 38 per cent and Infrastructure at 21 per cent. 2018 is the fifth consecutive year that Other Work holds the position as the largest sub-sector of Construction Output since overtaking the Housing sub-sector in Q2 2013.

Housing output noted a 3.1 per cent decrease in volume compared to the previous quarter, making it 2.6 per cent lower compared with the same period last year. Although construction output regarding housing has been gradually improving over time, it continues to remain significantly below historic levels. Decreases in output levels have also been seen in R&M Private Housing and New Public Housing, with R&M Public Housing recorded as the only housing sub-sector to increase over the quarter.

Meanwhile, the volume of Infrastructure Output has also noted a decline, with a decrease in Q1 2018 of 7.5 per cent compared to the previous quarter and 10.3 per cent lower compared with the same period in 2017. Indeed, the volume of Infrastructure output has been documented as the lowest in two years. This can be attributed to the sharp decrease in New Private Infrastructure output over the course of the year.

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