Chartered Surveyors involved in the construction sector believe Covid-19 has resulted in a 20% decrease in activity levels while over half expect to see a decrease in workloads over the next 12 months.
This is according to the the 4th edition of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland/PwC Construction Market Monitor. Almost 300 surveyors were canvassed in February for their views, but due to the unprecedented impact of Covid-19, respondents were surveyed again in June.
As such the findings capture both the pre and post Covid views of participants and the sea change in sentiment towards the sector which occurred over that four-month period.
Over two-thirds of surveyors expect a decrease in profit while seven out of ten hold a negative or neutral outlook for activity in the construction sector for the next 12 months.
When surveyed in February, 67% of the surveyors who took part expected to see an increase in workloads over the coming 12 months and only 8% expected to see a decrease. Fast forward to June and 51% expect to see a decrease while only 22% anticipate an increase.
In February, only 12% of respondents believed that profits would decline. But by June and after three months of lockdown and site closures that figure has jumped to 69%.
Furthermore, just 9% of respondents said that they are ‘well prepared’ for Brexit. Despite ongoing negotiations, the report says it looks increasingly likely that the UK will leave the EU without a deal on the 31st of December 2020 resulting in great disruption to trade, supply chains and increasing costs and job losses for the businesses impacted.
In February, 77% of respondents had a somewhat positive or very positive outlook for construction market activity while 9% had a somewhat negative or very negative view. By June in stark contrast the overall positive figure has fallen to 25% while the negative figure has jumped to 52%.
Commenting on the report, President of the SCSI, Micheál Mahon said, "The vast majority of surveyors who participated in the survey believe the pandemic will exacerbate the difficulties in raising development finance. They identified the viability of projects, access to bank credit, and cash flow / liquidity constraints as the top three issues contributing to difficulties in this area. Furthermore, they identified financial constraints on consumers and clients as potentially having the biggest impact on building activity in the coming months."