Wednesday 13th April 2011 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The workloads of small and medium sized construction firms in Northern Ireland fell again during the first quarter (Q1) of 2011. This is the 13th month in a row that workloads have been negative and signals the start of what looks set to be a fourth year of recession in the sector, according to the latest State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the largest trade association in the UK construction industry.
48% percent of respondents to the FMB’s Quarter One 2011 State of Trade Survey, the only survey looking exclusively at small and medium sized building companies, indicated that conditions had declined since the fourth quarter of 2010.
Maire Nawaz, FMB Northern Ireland Director, said:
“Although these results are the least negative overall that we have seen since the second quarter of 2009, we are still a very long way from seeing any kind of growth in the sector.”
“This is why FMB NI launched its ‘Building for Success’ program at Stormont two weeks ago which identified three key challenges for the next Assembly. First, the urgent need to retrofit our existing homes to help make them greener and more energy efficient. Small building firms can lead the transition to a low carbon economy but only if homeowners are incentivized to make their homes more energy efficient. Secondly, the need to develop our skills and training. If small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are to make our buildings more energy efficient they will need to up skill to meet the new challenges ahead. Northern Ireland’s politicians can encourage SMEs to train their employees by showing a strong commitment to ambitious retrofit initiatives like the Green New Deal. Finally, there is now an urgent need to create a new business environment without excessive control, regulation and taxation to allow small building firms to prosper.”
“The 18 recommendations outlined in our manifesto are designed to help the Northern Ireland Assembly meet its objectives for private sector growth by assisting the SME construction sector. Northern Ireland is at an important crossroads because the decisions taken over the next four years will have a profound and lasting impact on the economy. It is essential that after May’s election, ministers support and encourage the important contribution that small building firms make to the Northern Ireland economy and assist growth in this sector.”