Construction industry forecasts growth of 20% in 2019
There will be significant growth in the construction of houses this year, as the industry forecasts 20% growth in construction overall in 2019.
John O’Regan, Director of AECOM – who conducted a survey of clients, consultants and contractors – found broad optimism in the construction industry.
He said the reason why housing construction is taking so long to catch up with the demand is because it takes significant time to go through the process of design, planning, funding and getting projects to site.
The growth in construction to date and in future has been focused in Dublin, and over the last year it has been focused on the Dublin commercial office sector, according to the AECOM report. “The positive news is there is growth across all sectors and there is growth across all regions,” Mr O’Regan said.
Last year, AECOM forecast growth of 14% but construction growth exceeded expectations and was 17.6%, bringing output to €20 billion in 2018.
This year’s review unlocked a message of positivity and optimism within the construction industry in Ireland.
That being said, areas of concern were highlighted such as the sustainability of our Foreign Direct Investment plan.
“I think we can all see some of the chinks in our infrastructure, certainly housing, and transportation such as how long it takes people to get to and from work,” Mr O’Regan said..
“In some utilities like broadband, water and so on, we see that there are some areas of challenge in our infrastructure. When foreign direct investment companies are looking at investing in Ireland, they need to know that they can attract the talent to work with them, and they need to know that that talent will be able to live in affordable housing and have reasonable commute times and quality of life and so on.
“So we absolutely have to invest in infrastructure to facilitate future FDI and that’s where the Irish construction industry can play its part,” he said.
The single biggest challenge identified was a looming talent shortage. The AECOM director said it is not so much that people are leaving, it is more that the labour market simply can’t keep up with the pace of growth.
In the five years from 2007 onwards, there was a massive decline in the Irish construction industry. Workers the industry, left the country, and young people did not go into construction courses in college or apprenticeships.
“We are now suffering from that, in that we are growing at a rapid rate, and the skills aren’t there and aren’t returning at the rate to keep up with development,” he said.
While the shortage of talent is across the board, the biggest challenge for the sector will be recruiting and retaining engineers over the next 10 to 20 years,” he added.