Surveyors expect rise in construction activity this year, but warn about skills shortage

The vast majority of chartered surveyors expect construction activity to increase in the year ahead, according to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland / PwC Construction Market Monitor.

The number went up by 9% from last year to 90%, but the same report has also found that skills shortages and planning and regulatory challenges continue to be the main constraints on building houses.

The report found that the majority of chartered surveyors (56%) have already experienced increased construction activity over the last six months, this is an increase of 10% on the previous six months.

According to the survey, 71% of chartered surveyors have seen an increase in private housing over the last six months, an increase of 13%.

Also more than two-thirds (68%) have seen an increase in private commercial, an increase of 10%, while 44% have seen an increase in infrastructure, an increase of 14%.

Kevin James, Chair of the Quantity Surveying Group within the SCSI, said the increase in construction activity outside of Dublin was particularly welcome.

Mr James said: “While 4% more Dublin surveyors say they have experienced an increase in activity in the last six months the figure outside the capital is 11%. This is very heartening as it shows the recovery in the construction sector is gaining pace around the country.”

“It’s also encouraging to see that one of the main drivers of the growth in activity is housing and given the current housing crisis increasing social and affordable housing numbers from what is an extremely low base is now a priority.

“Among the principal aims of the recently published Project Ireland 2040 Plan is the provision of balanced regional city development and a significant improvement in the State’s infrastructure. However, the Government will need to successfully integrate various departments if the vision in that plan is to be realised.”

    The report's key findings

  • 56% of chartered surveyors have experienced an increase in construction activity in the last six months – up from 46% in 2017;
  • More surveyors outside Dublin say they’ve seen an increase in activity;
  • Activity has been driven by a rise in private house building and commercial;
  • Skills shortages remain an acute challenge with surveyors reporting an undersupply of between 53% - 84%;
  • The proportion of surveyors experiencing planning and regulatory issues remains high at 77%;
  • 90%, an increase of 9% from 2017, expect construction activity to increase in the next year.

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