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SMEs report first workload rise since 2007

The second quarter of this year showed a marked improvement in the fortunes of small and medium sized firms in the construction industry.
The latest Construction Trade Survey from the Construction Products Association showed manufacturers, specialists, civil engineers, and SME contractors all reporting that orders for future work have increased.

CPA economics director Noble Francis, at said: “As house building – boosted by Help to Buy until 2016 – is a key driver, this growth should be sustained.

“We must recognise, however, that this growth builds on the first quarter’s historically low level when output was its worst since 2001.”

The association’s forecasts predict that construction output will rise 2.2% in 2014 and a further 4.5% in 2015.

Julia Evans, Chief Executive of the National Federation of Builders said: “We must not take our eye off the ball as a sustained recovery needs a continuing, sustainable level of investment.

“While, as an industry, we do not expect to return to pre-2008 levels of activity, it is important to ensure that investment continues – particularly the investment that is dependent on future spending cuts.”

Key findings:

  • 72% of building contractors reported a rise in building work on an annual basis

  • 42% of contractors on private housing developments and 40% of contractors on public housing developments, saw rises in output year-on-year

  • 14% of heavy side companies saw sales increase on a quarterly basis in Q2. Light side product sales were broadly unchanged versus Q1, on balance, but

  • 2% of respondents in civil engineering saw sales fall from a year ago, on balance. Orders increased, however, according to 5% of respondents, on balance.

  • SMEs reported the first rise in annual output since 2007 Q4 and 5% of firms reported a rise in enquiries, on balance.

  • About Fiona Russell-Horne

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

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