Minister Donohoe and Minister of State O’Donovan launch ‘Build’, an annual report on construction sector performance and prospects for 2019

28th February, 2019

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, and Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan TD today (Thursday), as part of Project Ireland 2040 launched ‘Build‘, the first annual report on Construction Sector Performance and Prospects. The report is the first in a series of outputs from the Construction Sector Group which was established by Government in recognition of the fact that a modern, innovative and resilient construction sector is central to delivering on Project Ireland 2040 and to ensuring maximum value for money.

Today’s report is a rigorous assessment of the industry. It shows that since the launch of the Project Ireland 2040, infrastructure investment has been prioritised and increased:

  • Economy-wide investment in building and construction will grow to €30 billion in 2019.
  • Public spending on infrastructure will top 3.5% of national income in 2019, among the highest in the EU.
  • In 2018 housing completions surpassed 18,000, up a quarter on the previous year.
  • Close to 80% of housing completions are in our towns and cities across Ireland, meaning better connectivity, infrastructure and services for families.
  • Employment in construction sector has been steadily growing in recent years and now stands at 145,500.

It also highlights that:

  • Cost pressures continue – the tender price index grew by 7.4% last year putting costs back at peak levels.
  • Certain trades such as plastering and brick-laying face potential skill shortages.
  • Productivity growth in the sector is lower than the European average but there is considerable scope to address this.

The Government, working with the Construction Sector Group, is already taking steps to assist the industry to address these challenges. Measures to improve productivity, attract talent from overseas and keep the pipeline of investment moving are all underway.

Additionally, the National BIM Council chaired by Caroline Spillane of Engineers Ireland with the support of Enterprise Ireland produced a roadmap for improvements in that area and the Office of Government Procurement will shortly develop a medium-term procurement strategy. Ms. Spillane remarked, “On behalf of the National BIM Council I would like to warmly welcome the publication of the Build report which has been developed under the guidance of the Government Construction Sector Group. There is no doubt that Building Information Modelling can drive greater efficiency in the industry which in turn can support sustainable businesses, lead to higher-value construction jobs and assist the State in achieving value for money in the roll-out of Project Ireland 2040.  In 2019 the Construction Sector Group is prioritising work to drive productivity and growth in the sector and specifically to implement many of the recommendations of the Roadmap to digital transition. I know that the Government and industry players are keen to play their part in achieving a step change in performance it his regard and look forward to working the Government bodies on this throughout the year.”

Minister Donohoe said, “Project Ireland 2040 is a clear, responsive, needs-based strategy. Investment is being boosted to meet those needs and activity in the construction sector is gearing up accordingly. While risks exist, Government is cognisant of these and is undertaking proactive measures to mitigate them. In this way we will create a flexible construction sector within a sustainable economy that is well equipped to meet society’s needs.”

Minister O’Donovan added “There has been good progress to date in implementing Project Ireland 2040 but we can’t be complacent. We have identified risks and are tackling them head on. Early adoption of the latest technologies available will ensure that the industry is modernised, innovative and future-proofed.”