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Construction industry activity 2011

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by Desmond Pompey Tue, Sept 11, 2012

The construction industry in St Vincent and the Grenadines is considered by many to be of slow (44 per cent decrease) performance in 2011, though there was an estimated market of on the ground construction of EC$68 million, perhaps about 10 per cent of GDP, with the potential of being in the teens.{{more}} A challenging economy resulted in downward pressures on bid prices, while construction cost speeds upwards. Small contractors in the residential construction sector indicate that they accept zero profit work, only to keep operating.

Mortgages

Mortgages increased by 40 per cent averaging about $172,000.00 per mortgage in the residential sector.

Materials

o Cement 25 per cent decrease
o Steel 29 per cent decrease
o Plywood 8 per cent increase

Private New Construction and Renovation

Residential housing appears to be the major component of private sector construction with more renovations in 2011.

Public

o Argyle international airport
o Buccament Bay Resort
o Disaster Vulnerability Reduction and Hurricane Tomas Recovery Projects
o BRAGSA Road repair programme

Materials and Labour

For the most part, construction cost is made up of material and labour cost. Financial institutions have been accepting $150 per square foot as tender price for the construction of one, two, three and four bedroom homes, up to two floors (stories). Estimates for these projects averages $170 per square foot plan area in 2011. It is reported that at the country’s largest capital project, skilled labour is paid as low as $60/day, down from $70 and $80 dollars in recent years.

Codes and Standards

The Government of St Vincent and the Grenadines, through the Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning Department, has implemented the 2008 building regulations (code) as of October 2011.

Construction and Architect Associations

In 2011, a bill was passed in the house to regulate the practice of architecture here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Construction Association has been in the forefront of trying to gather information on the construction sector.

Comments

The data available for this report can be described as weak. However, it is a worthwhile exercise that should be continued. I suggest that monthly analysis of the construction sector data be done for better understanding of performance. The creation of a construction index that looks at subjects like employment, contracting activity and materials is encouraged.

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