€39.5bn increase in building industry

THE construction industry in Ireland is set to increase by 20% to €39.5 billion over the next year.

The construction industry grew by 82% in value terms between 1999 and 2004,

according to the first all-Ireland market intelligence reports for the construction and timber industries by OCO Consulting.

This will be good news for the 220,000 employed directly in the industry in Ireland.

However demand is outweighing supply in the residential construction market, as more than one third of the 77,000 new houses built last year are reported to be vacant.

Last year, residential construction accounted for 69% of the total construction output for Ireland and was valued at €18.2bn.

Alison Surgeoner, senior consultant with OCO said: "This is in direct contrast to Northern Ireland, where the housing market is set to be the key driver of the Northern Ireland industry for future years."

A strengthening in demand for office space in Dublin city centre is forecast into next year.

Key international hotel groups are also expected to continue to expand in Ireland, such as the Ramada International Hotel Group who recently announced plans to open 30 hotels in Ireland over the next few years, with spend equating to €210m.

Airport construction output is also forecast to increase further over the next two years.

The report also states that the majority of public construction opportunities are in the education sector.

The Minister for Education and Science recently announced that €270m will be allocated to primary schools and €223m to post primary schools for building and modernisation works.

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