Wednesday, September 18 15:44:19
The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has welcomed the latest increase in construction output, saying the sector could start moving to sustained growth if the right policy decisions are taken.
According to the CSO's Production in Building and Construction Index the second quarter of 2013 saw construction output rose by 1.7pc quarter on quarter and by 11.2pc based on the same quarter in 2012.
The CIF believes this is the latest positive sign of activity within the construction sector. "This is very positive news and it correlates with what we are hearing from our members," said CIF Director General Tom Parlon. "There has definitely been an increase in confidence in the industry over recent months and the increase in activity recorded by the CSO would certainly point to a verifiable reason for this improvement in the construction business climate."
"Of course it is not the only sign that things are starting to improve throughout the sector. House building starts are slightly up for the first part of this year, particularly in the larger urban areas. Additionally the latest job statistics recorded a jump in construction employment of 6,400 between Q1 and Q2 of 2013. This was the largest jump in construction employment since the peak of the boom in 2006."
"The industry seems to be at a point whereby if the right policy decisions are now taken we will start to see sustained growth return to the industry. There is an acceptance at Government level that the construction industry has overcorrected since the downturn and that we are at an artificially low level of activity. There is also recognition that a healthy construction sector would be operating at about twice the current level - at 12pc of GNP. "If we are to start moving towards growth on a manageable, controlled basis however we need the Government to implement measures that will help encourage construction activity and create jobs. Next month's Budget represents the prime opportunity to start doing that," Mr. Parlon concluded.