A construction worker laying bricksImage copyright PA
Image caption The federation is also warning that the pipeline of future work is in danger of slowing

The trade body representing NI’s construction firms is reporting “a degree of positivity” – largely down to house-building activity.

The Construction Employers Federation said things are “well beyond the low-point of 2012”, in terms of workloads during the first half of the year.

However, it warns the pipeline of future work is in danger of slowing.

This is partly down to public sector contracts tied to a functioning Northern Ireland Executive.

The federation also believes it could be next spring before any of the £400m of infrastructure cash materialises from the DUP-Conservative deal.

“It is vital we see this money allocated soon,” federation managing director John Armstrong said.

“The next six to 12-month period is absolutely critical.”

Northern Ireland construction firms turned over £2.7bn in 2016 and they employ about 60,000 people.

About 7,000 new homes were built last year – but the federation believes 9,000 houses are required annually to meet demand.

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