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Construction industry survey reports improved fortunes

The latest Construction Trade Survey shows conditions in Q2 improved across all construction sectors and throughout the supply chain.

Small and medium-sized businesses, hardest hit by the downturn, reported their first rise in activity since 2007.

Private housing was one of the key contributors to the improving workloads, together with a ‘catch-up’ across many sectors following a poor first three months of 2013, when adverse weather significantly affected output.

Prospects also showed signs of improvement, with manufacturers, specialists, civil engineers, and SME contractors all reporting more orders for future work.

The survey found that 72 per cent of building contractors reported a rise in building work on an annual basis, on balance, compared to flat output in Q1.

Building activity increased across all sectors, with improved conditions most frequently reported in housing; a net balance of 42 per cent of contractors working in private housing and 40 per cent of those working in public housing reported rises in output year on year.

Civil engineering workloads were broadly unchanged for the third consecutive quarter, although 5 per cent experienced increased orders.

SMEs saw the first rise in annual output since 2007 Q4 and a net balance of 5 per cent of firms reported a rise in enquiries.

Managing director of Skanska’s mechanical and electrical business Martin Neeson said his company had won commercial office and prime residential contracts in the London area this year.

“Private overseas investment is the main source of the upturn, with public investment continuing at the low levels experienced in recent years,” he said.

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