More than half of Irish construction companies expect their business to grow this year while three out of four construction companies will take on extra staff if they increase their revenue.
That’s according to the latest Construction Confidence Index, prepared by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). Additionally, 77pc of construction companies say the number of employees on their books has either grown or stayed the same compared to the same period last year.
The quarterly survey of Irish construction companies also found that 81pc are currently engaged in onsite construction activity and 43pc have seen an increase in activity compared to the same period last year. The number of tenders for construction activity is also on the increase, with four out of ten construction companies saying they have submitted more tenders this year compared to 2013.
The level of confidence in the industry has also improved, with 52pc saying they are more confident about the state of the industry compared to 12 months ago. 41pc also expect the number of tenders they submit in the next three months to increase, while only 13pc believe they will see a drop in tenders over the same period. The survey also captured some of the problems facing the industry at present.
The lack of tenders was the biggest problem across the industry, with 36pc citing it as the main impediment to growing their business. 32pc cited access to credit as their biggest problem while one in eight believe the biggest hurdle is the cost of building. The uneven level of activity across the sector was also highlighted with almost three out of ten construction companies saying their level of activity has decreased compared to a year ago and 26pc have submitted fewer tenders than the same period in 2013. Speaking about the survey, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said, “The overall trend in the industry is positive and it shows that our sector is slowly getting back on its feet. Seeing that more than half of Irish construction companies expect their business to grow this year shows how much the business climate has changed in the last year. It illustrates a marked change from the six years of decline experienced by the industry since the crash.”
“Another very positive sign is that so many construction companies will be looking to create more jobs and hire additional staff if their business grows. This underlines a point the CIF has been making for quite some time – the quickest way of creating jobs and reducing the numbers of unemployed is to grow construction sector activity. The recently published Government strategy for the construction industry,Construction 2020, contains a number of outline measures which potentially could see these jobs created in the short to medium term.”
“For all the positive information contained in the survey however, you also have to take note of some of the more negative sentiment in parts of the construction industry. It is a concern that 29pc have experienced a decrease in activity over the last 12 months and more than one in four have submitted fewer tenders. This tallies with the feedback on the ground that activity is yet to pick up in certain geographical areas and certain sections within the industry are continuing to struggle,” Mr Parlon added. “It’s also worth noting the problems that are being experienced by construction companies. We have been making the point that access to credit has been a major problem for Irish construction companies. It is worrying that 32pc have said it is the biggest problem to growing their business. Clearly this is an issue that the Government and the other stakeholders need to grasp if we want to keep the construction sector growing and to get it back to a sustainable level of activity,” he concluded. www.cif.ie