Manufacturers and merchants have benefited from an upturn in construction output over the past quarter, according to the latest joint Trade Survey Report.
The report, compiled by the Construction Products Association (CPA) and the Construction Confederation, shows that strong activity in commercial and public new housing sectors has driven the market over the last quarter.
Meanwhile, the industry has also seen a welcome pick up in repair and maintenance activity, which has been slow over the past 12 months.
The report continues: “On the back of firm construction activity, products manufacturers saw a continuing strengthening in their sales volumes during the second quarter of this year.
“Heavy side firms in particular report firmer sales growth, while light side firms have also seen a marked rise in volumes. Growth appears to be mainly driven by UK demand, as despite firm growth in key export market, product manufacturers report lower export sales volumes during the second quarter.”
In fact, 94% of light side firms reported higher sales volumes than the same period last year and half had seen sales rise by more than 5%. Two thirds of heavy side firms had seen higher sales than last year with a third seeing increases of more than 5%.
However, said economist for the CPA Maren Baldauf, higher sales does not necessarily mean higher profits. ” Construction product manufacturers continue to face a widespread rise in unit costs, mainly driven by fuel and energy costs, as well as higher raw material prices. These costs have further squeezed manufacturers’ margins.”