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Builders warn of collapsing confidence

Confidence in the building industry has collapsed, according to builders’ organisation the Federation of Master Builders.

Only 5% of small building companies expecting workloads to increase in 2012, according to the latest FMB State of Trade Survey.

Workloads for small to medium-sized building firms have declined in each of the 16 quarters to the end of December 2011, and the survey reports that confidence in the repair, maintenance and improvement (RM&I) market is set to plunge.

Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the FMB said: “The disastrous results for the RM&I market are very alarming given that the Government will be launching its Green Deal home improvement initiative in October. Market conditions in the building industry haven’t been this bad since the first quarter of 2009. Clearly, robust incentives for householders are needed if the Green Deal initiative is to succeed in a depressed market.”

He said that half the FMB members anticipate workloads falling still further in the coming quarter compared to 33% in Quarter Three of 2011.

“Although the Green Deal has no upfront financial costs the Government needs to accept that it is still perceived by householders as a debt and there is no appetite for more borrowing amongst householders already worried about meeting existing commitments.

“If the Government’s Green Deal initiatives is to succeed in its ambition to retrofit 14 million properties by 2020 then it will need to provide householders with additional financial incentives such as a reduced rate of VAT or lower Stamp Duty.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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