The construction industry is warning that building costs will continue to rise this year as the price of materials continues to increase.
A new survey by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) that four in five builders expect to raise their prices in the coming months.
Around 99% said they were paying more for raw materials, with the vast majority expecting prices to continue rising.
The inflation will push up the price of houses and home repairs throughout the year.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said he does not expect any improvement n the situation this year.
“Unfortunately, it’s a reality,” he said.
“I am actually on a timber frame manufacturing plant here that is turning out around 20 houses per week and the owner was telling me that timber has increased by, in some cases, over 100% in the last 12 months.
“So, timber continues to be expensive, steel continues to be expensive, all the plastics and I think every builder in the country would have got a notice from his cement, block, sand and gravel supplier in the last couple weeks saying the price of those supplies is going to go up as well.
“So, it is, unfortunately, a fact of life. I know some of the experts are saying this inflation that is currently hitting right across the board is temporary, but I think most of our members don’t expect to see any respite from it in the course of this year.”
Building firms also told CIF they were having trouble recruiting skilled labour and retaining the staff they do have.
More than eight in ten said the cost of labour had increased – with an expectation for ongoing increases this year.
Trinity Professor Ronan Lyons said the issue could add thousands to the cost of a new home and hundreds to the cost of renovations.
“Some people might say oh that’s OK the builders can take the hit but that’s not really how the sector works,” he said.
“It might work like that over the course of two, three, six or nine months but in general, how homes are built is they are built based on the cost level – not building and then wondering what the cost is going to work out at.”
CIF is calling on the Government to reduce the cost of building for developers, with the benefits then passed on to customers.