Adaptation is key for Northern Ireland construction industry

COVID-19 has dramatically affected the economic landscape in Northern Ireland in 2020 and, perhaps unsurprisingly, poses the biggest challenge to contractors, according to our latest Northern Ireland market intelligence survey.

80 percent of surveyed contractors in the market describe current tendering conditions as ‘cold’, with intense competition and low prices prevailing. Our latest report considers this in detail, looking at key aspects such as pipeline, sectors that have experienced the greatest impact and how long it make take for the industry to recover.

Opportunity despite significant challenges

The short term outlook indicates a cooling market with respondents estimating at least 12 months before the industry sees a return to pre-COVID levels. There are clear risks on potential material and supply issues, in particular importing from areas outside of the UK.

Political instability has been the greatest concern for our responding contractors over the last three years of our surveys. However, this has now been replaced by too many contractors chasing too few projects, which highlights the immediate impact COVID-19 has had on the industry.

Despite the challenges, opportunities in the market do exist, giving a reason for some optimism and confidence with our respondents. The public and private sectors have commenced procurement of design teams on a range of projects which will hopefully convert to construction works in the near future. All of these indicate a continued vote of confidence by developers and the public sector in the merits and opportunity for growth in Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland.

Download the report to read more about these challenges and see the full analysis and insight from the survey.