The Irish Construction Industry in Q3 of 2020 has truly had an “annus horribilis” of epic proportions. This time last year, everyone was grappling with the implications of Brexit on the general economy and in particular the construction industry and then to face a global pandemic this year which forced the closure of sites from late March until their official re-opening on 18th May 2020 has left the industry battered and bruised.
The Construction Industry rose well to the challenges of re-opening sites but the impact of Covid-19 has been painful and means a new way of working, social distancing on site being the most difficult aspect. All new measures that have to be taken into account, supply chain, operations (less workers on site at any one time), legal and financial implications and subcontractors’ availability are going to add to cost and delay of completions.
It has never been clearer that it is still premature to try and assess the long-term legacy of Covid-19 as the Government are currently contemplating a change from Level 3 to Level 5 for the country. Remote working and on line Design Team and Site Meetings have now become the norm and require all firms to adapt to new ways of doing business, it will also challenge companies to innovate and improve to ensure that we never lose the crucial human factor in all our dealings with Clients, colleagues and Contractors alike.
It is clear that the next 12 months will be extremely difficult for the country as a whole and our industry as we look at unemployment levels rising, government deficit increasing and the economy contracting.
The latest Tender Price Index published by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) in September 2020 has revealed that national construction tender prices increased by just 0.9% in the first half of 2020, down from 2.8% in the previous 6 months. The results indicate a continued slowing of Tender price growth in the construction sector, with national annual inflation now at 3.8% (July 19 to June 20).
It is critical in these uncertain times that the Government continues to back public sector investment in health, housing, education and infrastructural projects to ensure that the Irish Construction Industry is sustainable and provides much needed projects to take advantage of the current competitive rates available.
Damien Morgan MSCS MRICS Director
Brendan Merry & Partners