agendaNi analyses the latest statistics on the construction sector in Northern Ireland.
Statistics recorded for the first quarter of 2016 show a 2.3 per cent increase in overall construction output in the last year and represents a continuing modest upward trend since 2014. The gap between new work (covering housing, infrastructure and the industrial and non-industrial sub sectors of construction for the public and private sector) and repair and maintenance (covering improvements and alterations in existing housing and buildings) has been widening over the last year due to a decrease in new work output since 2010. In latest figures released by the Department for the Economy, new work made up 73 per cent of overall construction output, while repair and maintenance made up 27 per cent.
The level of new work has increased by 3.8 per cent over the last year but repair and maintenance decreased by 1.6 per cent over the same period. Of the construction sub-sectors, other work, defined as public and private sector construction activity in industrial and non-industrial areas remains the largest with 42 per cent of overall output, having overtaken housing in 2012. Housing made up 34 per cent, almost 8 per cent higher than the previous year. The overall decrease in housing output since 2010, estimated to be 70 per cent lower than pre-downturn figures, has been quantified by a decrease in new private housing.
Infrastructure output also rose in the last year by 3 per cent and makes up 25 per cent of the overall output. New infrastructure output has continued to rise and fall since 2010, while the repair and maintenance element has been more consistent.
Levels of other work have fallen by 1.7 per cent over the year. However that figure was recorded as a three-year high and despite the decrease, forms part of a general increase since 2013. In the past three years, other worked defined under the sub category as public has almost doubled.