The Construction Industry Federation (CIF) believes the latest CSO statistics which show an increase in construction activity reflect the increased confidence that entered the industry in the latter part of 2012.  The latest CSO Production in Building and Construction Index recorded a 7% increase in the production value between the third and fourth quarters of 2012.  This resulted from a 3.3% increase in production volume.

“It’s great to see that the increased confidence that came into our industry during the last few months of 2012 has some tangible evidence behind it,” said CIF Director General Tom Parlon.  “We had been told that there was more work available to members and more tender opportunities.  This has been borne out in the latest CSO statistics.  Further evidence of this trend was in the growth in the number of people in construction employment with the second two quarters of 2012 registered increases.

“There was some disparity within the industry.  While the civil engineering and non residential sectors experienced extra activity there was a decrease in residential building.  This also tallies with CIF figures.  While there will expect residential building activity to increase in the more urban parts of the country this year, particularly Dublin, Cork and Galway, on a nationwide basis we expect there to be a further slight contraction.

“However there are a number of positive signs that the increased activity will continue in the non residential building sectors in the coming 12 months.  The work generated by the foreign direct investment attracted by the IDA has created more opportunities for construction companies while there will also be the rollout of the Irish Water scheme and the implementation of activity created by the working capital NAMA are making available.  Towards the end of 2013 onwards we should also start to see the stimulus plan result in actual construction work.

“Our sector has gone through too long a period of decline and contraction to get over excited by these CSO statistics.  We are at a very low ebb in terms of overall activity.  However we will be working with the Government and other relevant agencies such as NAMA to try to ensure that this trend continues.  We need to make sure the conditions for the industry are right so that any increases in activity will have maximum benefit to the industry, the economy and the State,” Mr. Parlon concluded.