Construction & Property Overview
Over the last 12 months Grafton’s Construction and Property Division has seen excellent growth. Construction output from 2014 – 2015 has seen outstanding growth at 18%, this figure fills us with anticipation for 2016.
Over the past 12 months there has been consecutive quarterly increases in construction output. One huge point to note is that construction output levels have returned to the same level as four years ago. Despite the recent improvements within our sector, levels of output remain below the historical outputs witnessed during Q4 2007.
Increasing confidence within NI private sector is clearly evident with ‘New Work’ accounting for 73.5% of all output. Another interesting figure is ‘Repair & Maintenance’ which makes up 26.5% of output has seen an annual decrease of 4.9%. We can relate this to the budgetary constraints at Stormont.
One key driver for NI Construction hiring trends is the success that is enjoyed by NI based contractors outside of Northern Ireland. It is estimated that almost half of all the work done by NI companies is outside Northern Ireland. This has resulted in many employees working for NI based contractors commanding UK industry standard remuneration packages.
Going into 2016 we have seen a spike in private investment within Northern Ireland, particularly within Student Housing and Hotel developments. Over the last nine months Belfast City Council have approved nine major hotel developments. We also have 16 planning applications in the system for student accommodation in Belfast which represents 7,000 rooms. Two major projects that have already got underway is the 400 room joint venture between Lacuna & Watkin Jones which is projected to cost £25 million.
The second is one of the largest investments Belfast City Centre has ever seen with the University of Ulster investing £150 million in their Belfast Campus. These figures clearly show that 2016 will be a fiercely competitive year with Construction companies queuing up to recruit the best talent and our skills gap only increasing further.