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Good News? Construction trends for 2024

I was checking construction trends for the coming year and despite the obvious difficulties, the overall picture is pretty hopeful. According to Euroconstruct research ‘Ireland is forecast to record strongest construction growth amongst 19 European Countries’.  

  • Construction output in Ireland forecast to grow by 3.2% in 2023 and 4.4% in 2024.
  • Construction activity in the 19 Euroconstruct countries to contract by 1.7% in 2023 and 2.1% in 2024.
  • Irish new housing completions estimated at 31,000 for 2023 and 33,450 for 2024 – up 7.9%.
  • The civil engineering sector in Ireland is forecast to grow by 2.4% in 2023 and 5.3% in 2024, while the non-residential sector will grow by 2.9% and 2.6% over the same two-year period.

(Source: ey.com)

Key challenges

Nevertheless, the following key challenges to the industry were identified in the CIF’s Q3 Economic Outlook Survey, published in November 2023 and in other publications..

  • Access to skilled labour
  • securing a healthy profit margin on projects
  • the increased cost of raw materials
  • planning
  • public sector capacity
  • digital adoption
  • housing delivery
  • skills.

‘Access to skilled labour (79%), securing a healthy profit margin on projects (66%) and the increased cost of raw materials (65%) remain the three most significant challenges’. Overall, this survey is positive in its outlook and CIF have welcomed the new funds announced in the budget and are continuing to engage with the government to improve the outlook further.

(Source: CIF)

Trends in the UK

The importance of the uptake of modern methods of construction (MMS) is stressed. This is reflected in the following trends identified in the UK market:

  1. Continued uptake of BIM
  2. Smart construction and the use of drones, robotics and automation
  3. 3D Printing 
  4. Sustainable, nearly zero-energy buildings 
  5. Global supply chain management

 Irish Companies do not appear to be investing sufficiently in technology. According to a recent report, 60% of construction companies here are not planning to invest further in any modern construction methods or emerging technologies over the next five years. 

(Source: Autodesk)

Efforts are been made to address these issues, larger companies are investing in technologies, (modular building in particular) but SMEs are slow due primarily due to time and cost.

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