NI construction activity steady for now

Mixed picture from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and the NI Department of Infrastructure, as builders call for reduction in VAT rate for home improvements.

Planning approvals increased from April to June 2022 as compared to January to March of 2022, reports the NI Department of Infrastructure.

From April to June a total of 760 new build one-off houses, and 913 domestic alterations and extensions, go the green light from the planners. This represented a decrease when compared to the previous year (April to June 2021) of 4 per cent for new builds, 23 per cent for alterations and extensions.

The Northern Ireland Construction Bulletin, meanwhile, shows construction activity is keeping steady. New construction work (volume of output) for private housing – covering both one-off houses and developer built – rose 5 per cent from the Jan-Mar to Apr-Jun 2022 period, but decreased 4 per cent when compared to Apr-Jun 2021.

The repair and maintenance side also increased, as compared to the Jan- Mar 2022 period (increase of 1 per cent) and as compared to Apr-Jun 2021 (increase of 4 per cent).

The Federation of Master Builders has called on the UK government to tackle reduced consumer spending as a result of the higher cost of living, stating the repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) side of the industry is bread and butter work for many small builders.

“A win-win would be a nationwide energy efficiency plan to make our homes more energy efficient, which boosts jobs and lowers bills,” Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders said. “A more immediate shot in the arm would be a reduction in VAT on RMI work, helping builders pass on savings to customers.”

The FMB also argues a less regimented planning system would help deliver more homes.

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Written by Astrid Madsen

Astrid Madsen is the editor of the SelfBuild magazine. Email

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