An annual construction industry review, which was launched recently by AECOM in Northern Ireland, analyses the industry outlook on the island of Ireland and takes a long view to what will be required to sustain development over the next two decades.
As part of the review, AECOM liaised with senior professionals in the construction industry in the public and private sector in Northern Ireland to gain an insight into output and the factors blocking and delaying development.
Director, AECOM in Northern Ireland, Trevor Leaker said, “This year our review of the construction industry across the island of Ireland identified two different pictures concerning sentiment, growth estimates and the challenges found in the respective markets. Talent was cited as the single greatest obstacle for the sector in the Republic of Ireland, while the current political environment in Northern Ireland was the biggest concern for the industry here.”
“The lack of an Executive in Northern Ireland, which has slowed the rate at which public sector projects have come to market, was identified as a source of frustration. However, the review suggested that clarity on this issue could lead to a flurry of public sector projects being tendered which could underpin the long-term sustainability of the industry.”
“Positive sentiments included our performance with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), with 75% of FDI companies reinvesting and expanding in Belfast, reflecting our efforts to become a more innovative city”.
“Belfast City Council is working with industry to establish the city as a leader in the use of SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) through increased investment in areas such as transport connectivity and parking. Belfast’s 20 ‘Smart Hubs’ initiative is a critical step in maintaining the capital’s status as a frontrunner in the deployment of infrastructure technology and will be a key ingredient in its continued growth and evolution.
Suzanne Wylie, Chief Executive of Belfast City Council, said: “AECOM’s annual review is extremely informative as it shows where progress is being made, and where the challenges lie, across both the public and private sector.
“This year’s report outlines what is required to ensure strong sector growth in Northern Ireland over the next two decades. This forward-thinking approach complements our own vision for building a strong, SMART and resilient city which people want to live in, which offers good jobs for our young people and which provides stronger infrastructure and relevant skills for investors.
“Our goal is to drive Belfast and, in turn, the entire region forward – this requires a strong construction sector that has the confidence to take on jobs and plan for the future. We are looking to industry to provide advanced and pioneering solutions, as how our city moves forward with infrastructure in the coming years will be critical to becoming one of the most innovative locations in Europe.”
Caption: Paula Gillan,Peter Sutcliffe, Alan Currie, Andy Patterson and Tim Robinson.