A warning that increasing demands for building labour and rising construction costs could see the current boom go bust.

Rising costs and an increase in the demand for labour in the construction sector are leading to rising house prices which is placing increased pressure on government finances and infrastructure projects.

Ireland, a country of cranes and concrete mixers where construction is big business.

A shortage of skilled labour and growing demand for housing and improved roads is pushing the building industry close to capacity. Coinciding with these factors, construction costs have climbed with workers demanding higher wages and contractors making bigger profits.

Minister for the Environment Noel Dempsey warns against too much greed in the industry saying,

The boom will become bust very very quickly.

The building boom is also bad news for homeowners looking to get some home improvements done. Construction workers are in big demand so it is more and more difficult to find a builder to do smaller jobs.

Rising building costs are also fuelling higher house prices. These costs also present problems for the government as they embark on major infrastructure jobs.

If construction prices continue to climb, the government could end up paying over the odds for badly needed infrastructure projects.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 23 August 1999. The reporter is Eilis Brennan.