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Latest Building Engineering Business Survey suggests optimistic Q3

Majority of respondents surveyed report steady or improved turnover during second quarter of 2018, although challenges linked to Carillion’s collapse and Brexit uncertainty persist

A survey of 372 individuals working across the engineering services sector has found that over three quarters of respondents saw turnover increase or remain steady during the second quarter of 2018, even with increased labour and materials costs.

The findings form part of the latest sector-wide Building Engineering Business Survey that is compiled by organisations such as the ECA, BESA, the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) and SELECT. The survey has been sponsored by Scolmore.

Just under 90 percent of the survey group expected a more positive third quarter of the year reflected by steady or increased turnover, according to the survey.

However, the findings noted that 2018 was not without challenges for the engineering services industry with 62 per cent of respondents warning of paying out increased costs for materials when compared to the first quarter of the year. The survey also found that 45 per cent of respondents saw an increase in their labour costs over the same period of time.

A statement on the findings added, “Retentions were held against 61 per cent of businesses, and late payment remains an issue for over half of respondents in commercial and public sector work.”

Rob Driscoll, deputy director of business policy and practice at the ECA said that the second half of 2018 reflected the ongoing impacts on the building services industry from the collapse of Carillion in January.

Mr Driscoll added that the second quarter of the year was reflective of a more positive industry outlook.

He added, “We will continue to push for industry improvements on payment and retentions and we anticipate that new government requirements for transparent payment reporting will help the industry to address its ongoing poor payment performance.”

BESA’s public affairs and policy manager Alexi Ozioro said it was encouraging that members responding to the survey had shown growth over the period, even with pressing challenges facing the building services sector and construction.

He said, “For a long time however, members have been concerned about rising material costs. The announcements of government’s preparations for a no-deal Brexit do not address these concerns, instead introducing further uncertainty into the market.”

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