Projections for the Irish Construction Sector
Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic is having monumental effects on all sectors in Ireland, it is important that we give a current overview of how the Irish construction sector is performing against the challenges of the pandemic, and also observe the future projections that have been put in place for this critical sector.
The COVID pandemic has had a drastic effect on Ireland’s economic landscape over the past 14 months affecting every industry as we know it. The Irish construction industry has generally navigated the various challenges presented but still faces challenges both in the short and medium term.
From a financial standpoint, the pandemic had a negative effect on the overall value of the construction sector. For example, in 2020 there was a reduction in the value of 7.3% or almost €2 billion. The construction durations have also been negatively affected during the pandemic. 37.5% of surveyed contractors reporting that project duration has increased on average by 3 to 4 weeks. Over 50% of the surveyed contractors also reported an increase in lead times.
Even with the negative effects suffered by this industry, the construction sector has remained one of the strongest. Here we take a look at just some of the key projections for the construction industry in Ireland for the years ahead:
1. Expected Industry Growth
The overall output of the Irish construction sector is unlikely to reach the levels achieved pre-Covid. However, expected growth in 2021 is set to improve in comparison to 2020 levels.
The start of the year has been tough on this industry. The full resumption of construction work will have positive effects with the vaccine roll-out continuing to take place. John O’Regan, Director of AECOM Ireland, the infrastructure consultancy firm, describes the “resilience of the industry” with an expected “15% growth rate”.
2. Data Centre Growth
A report by Host outlines that, Ireland holds approximately 25% of data centres in Europe. There are also constant echoes of global tech giants (such as Tik Tok who were planning to build a €420 million facility) that have earmarked Ireland as a potential location.
The construction of these centres is critical for the Irish construction sector. These projects are worth an expected €4.5 billion in foreign direct investment to be reached by 2025.
3. Acceleration of Rail Projects
The director of AECOM also outlined the possibility of improved rail projects over the coming years in Ireland. This will include projects such as expanding the Dart and progressing the Metrolink as previously planned. These projects are able to take place due to the key elements of sustainable growth achieved by the construction industry.
4. National Housing Taskforce
The introduction of a national housing task force has been recommended. This will comprise of both industry and public sector players that can “aid in the fast and cost-effective delivery of housing across the country”. This will speed up the planning and delivery process, as the economy begins to normalise.
A new national housing plan must make a large policy shift away from rebuilding Ireland to solve the crisis. This plan will help to repair the dysfunctional housing market in Ireland that has been highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The construction industry is going to emerge as one of the most sustainable and profitable sectors following the pandemic. These factors listed above will aim to drive the industry in the coming years.
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