MORE Than One in Four Industry Insiders Believe Construction Sector will Return to Growth

MORE than one in four Irish people believe the construction sector will return to growth this year- according to a new survey.


Although 70pc believe the ailing sector will continue to decline in 2013- 26pc are optimistic this year will see a turnaround in its fortunes.


The survey, conducted by low carbon cement provider Ecocem, correlates with the latest Ulster Bank Construction Purchasing Manager’s Index which indicates improved business sentiment among Irish construction firms despite a continued fall in business activity last month.


The rate of reduction in employment in the sector also slowed last month- and was the lowest in 68 months.


The survey, which measured 500 industry insiders’ attitudes to the construction industry and its effect on the environment was conducted ahead of the forthcoming Better Building Conference. 


Ireland’s largest property and construction conference will be held on Wednesday, 24th April in Croke Park.  


The theme of the conference is leading environmental innovation in Europe.  The conference will discuss among other areas, the Government’s green public procurement (GPP) policy which was published in January 2012 and is central to supporting environmental innovations.  In the summer of 2013, it is anticipated that a more detailed plan for construction will be published.  


Cork people, according to the survey expressed the most optimism about the fate of the sector this year while Waterford and Galway people were the most negative.


The survey also found that 90pc believes the Government is not doing enough to support better environmental practices in Ireland.  


This was an interesting finding given only 50pc of respondents were found to be aware of the Government’s– green public procurement policy which was published more than a year ago.


A further 99pc believe the construction industry need to play a greater role to protect the environment by reducing carbon emissions.


Unsurprisingly, more than 95pc of those surveyed believe climate change is happening.


Eight percent claimed to consider the environment in the products, vehicles and services they use – however just over 2pc admitted they did not consider the environment in any way when it came to their business practices.


This year’s Better Building Conference sponsored by Ecocem will have more than 40 speakers presenting in four parallel streams, covering topics such as green real estate, passive house standard, innovations and green materials.


Speakers at the event will include Marie Donnelly, European Energy Commission; Ronan Lyons, Economist and author of the Daft Report; Thomas Mueller, CEO of the Canada Green Building Council, and Olivier Rapf, Director General of the Building Performance Institute of Europe.


There will also be updates on the Green Public Procurement, building control from relevant Government officials from the Department of Environment.


Commenting on the survey results David O’Flynn, Business Development Manager of Ecocem said: “The aim of our survey was to take the pulse of the construction industry regarding low carbon sustainable practices.  The results are very promising.  The respondents are clearly ambitious for what can be achieved as an overwhelming percentage believe that the Government and Construction industry can do more to tackle climate change.  When the GPP policy for construction is published in the summer, it will be a significant step in moving the Irish construction industry towards more sustainable practices”


Tim Graham, co-organiser of the Better Building Conference said “This conference is perfectly timed as the construction industry gathers momentum.  This is Ireland’s biggest construction conference where attendees can learn, network and access important commercial opportunities to build their business”  


Nearly 400 people attended the inaugural Better Building conference in 2012 at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. These numbers are expected to increase significantly this year making it the largest conference in the Irish construction and property calendar.


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