Construction Skills Shortage - Skills gaps 'threatens construction bounceback'

Date Uploaded: 13/04/2016

Construction Skills Shortage - A skills shortage in key building trades from glazing and electrical to plastering is threatening to hold back a revival in the construction sector, a new report has found.


According to building consultancy Bruce Shaw, the construction sector is expected to grow by more than a fifth this year as the property market continues to recover.

The firm is forecasting construction output of about €15bn this year overall.

While the growth in the sector is encouraging, Shaw is the latest player in the construction industry to warn that a growing skills shortage in the market threatens to undermine the economy.

The Irish construction sector is expected to continue its recovery and grow by 21pc in 2016, according to Shaw.

However, the company warned that the increased cost of construction, as companies attempt to recover from recessionary pricing, and lack of skilled resources are hampering the sector's potential for sustainable growth. The firm made the comments as it launched the '2016 Bruce Shaw Ireland Handbook', the annual publication seen as the benchmark for the building trade.

Figures from the handbook are used to benchmark the cost of building work among many other functions across the industry.

Bruce Shaw's Derek Scully said a worsening skills gap and higher costs were hurting the industry.

"The construction sector experienced the highest number of company failures of any industry during the recession and employment levels fell to a quarter of their peak levels [after the crash].

"This has led to a huge skills shortage, particularly in specialist trades such as glazing, mechanical and electrical services but also in traditional trades such as steel fixing and plastering.

"We can't fill the gap fast enough to meet the demand and this is seriously impacting on tender levels," Mr Scully said.

The company believes that building activity is 60pc below the peak.


Journalist: Peter Flanagan

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