Small construction firms in NI enjoyed strong growth in the second quarter of the year despite many expressing concerns over the ongoing political uncertainty.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) State of the Trade Survey shows performance of NI construction SMEs rose by 21 per cent in three months to +47 per cent. 54 per cent of local builders are positive about the outlook in the industry, with just 7 per cent suggesting a decline in current of future workloads. Despite the relative positivity more than three quarters of builders expect material prices to continue to rise over the next six months and a large proportion have reported recruitment difficulties. 65 per cent said they are struggling to hire bricklayers, while 60 per cent state they are facing problems hiring carpenters.
FMB Northern Ireland director, Gavin McGuire believes the resilience of the north’s building industry is all the more remarkable given the political uncertainty over Brexit and the ongoing lack of a Stormont Executive. “Construction SMEs have very real concerns about the impact of the ongoing political deadlock in Stormont, and the uncertainty around the outcome of Brexit negotiations. Recent research by FMB NI found that three quarters of SME builders in Northern Ireland believe that if the deadlock in Stormont continues, it will hamper growth.”