UK construction boom close to pre-crisis level

Chris Papadopoullos
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THE CONSTRUCTION industry continues to make impressive headway as the sector soars towards pre-crisis levels of output, a set of data shows today.

The majority of firms are reporting rising output. The net balance – the per cent of survey respondents answering positively minus those answering negatively – of building contractors that said output rose year-on-year in the third quarter was 60 per cent.

The figures are from a survey undertaken by the Construction Products Association – an industry body.

Both private residential and private commercial rose on the year, with net balances of 35 per cent and 41 per cent respectively.

Meanwhile, only 11 per cent of building contractors, on balance, reported a fall in margins from the second to the third quarter.

“Construction firms also reported rises in forward looking indicators such as orders and enquiries, which clearly indicate that activity will rise throughout 2015.” said Dr Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Associa­tion.

Earlier in the month, surveys pointed to a slowdown in construction growth, and research by consultants KPMG published last Friday warned that the construction sector could come up against a skills shortage.

“These figures are encouraging, especially since growth is now apparent in all sectors of construction. They are in line with ONS data and paint a better picture than earlier this year,” said Stephen Ratcliffe, director of the UK Contractors group.

“Labour cost rises do signal the need for the industry to attract new recruits and emphasise the importance of our campaign ‘Born to Build’, which is trying to entice young people to consider a career in construction.”

However, construction output still remains below the levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis.

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