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Builders workloads increase

Builders across Britain are getting busier for the first time since the economic downturn began, according to the Federation of Master Builders.
The FMB’s State of Trade Survey of member firms shows the net balance for workloads, expected workloads and enquiries in the second quarter of 2013 was positive across most of the UK for the first time since 2007.

However, in Scotland a negative net balance of -26 was recorded showing that conditions had deteriorated for SME builders during the three months to June.

FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry said: “After one of the toughest and most sustained economic downturns since the Second World War, it is encouraging to see conditions may be easing for Britain’s beleaguered builders. It is a testament to the resilience, work ethic and professionalism of SME builders, many of whom have had to cut their cloth accordingly and eat into their profits to maintain staffing and capacity in the hope that a better day would come.

“While these figures are a sign that the worst may finally be behind us, the building trade has a long way to go to get back to pre-2008 levels of employment and output, and there are many hurdles still to overcome. We must not be complacent, as consumer confidence is fragile at best. The FMB will continue its work to champion professional builders over the cowboys.

Berry concluded: “It is now more important than ever that the Government acts to secure this nascent recovery. Policies such as the Green Deal and Funding for Lending schemes, which should have given a boost to construction SMEs, continue to underperform and aren’t providing the improved access to finance and new work which they promised, while the FMB’s recent report into procurement practices showed that public contracts too often remain unsuitably packaged and difficult to access for most small construction firms.

“Help to Buy is still in its early days, but seems to be having a positive impact on the property market. Ministers must now do more to meet calls from house builders to reduce regulation in order to get more homes built.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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