Modest recovery in construction reported for 2010

Construction bounced back in 2010, according to the Cámara Costarricense de la Construcción.

In terms of the square meters of permits approved, the increase was about 11 percent, the chamber said.

Ricardo Castro, president of the business group, said that another increase of about 12 percent is expected this year. However, he called upon the government to take action to stop the deterioration of competitivity and reactivate the national economy.

He said at a press conference that the reduction of paperwork, the development of infrastructure through concessions and better access to housing are key points to a quick recovery of the construction sector.

For example, he said there are 73 projects that mean 14,000 jobs that are hung up over paperwork. He said that the
country suffers from lack of medium and long-term planning.

He proposed a new regulation covering approval of building plans with an eye to reduce paperwork and a single regulation for building in municipalities.

Castro also said that 50 percent of the population does not have access to good housing. He urged improvements in credit to better conditions for those who seek their own home. He urged that the government postpone its proposal for a 14 percent value-added tax because this would only increase the cost of housing.

The statistics from the construction chamber show that all provinces except Puntarenas had increases in the amount of construction approved in 2010. The national total was 501,048 square meters. That is 5,393,236 square feet. Still construction is some 30 percent behind November 2008, Castro noted. Most of the increase in 2010 was commercial space, the statistics show.

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