Private sector boosts building

 
Julian Harris
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PRIVATE sector activity is driving the UK’s construction industry forwards again, a survey revealed today.

Workloads in the building industry shot up in the first three months of the year, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said.

Workloads were up by a net balance of six per cent, from a decline of five per cent at the end of 2010.

“We are particularly encouraged by the indications that the private sector is not only seeing an increase in workloads but planning to raise employment,” commented RICS economist Simon Rubinsohn.

Rising commercial construction was reported by 17 per cent more surveyors than those who reported a fall.

Private housing construction also rose, albeit more modestly, with a positive balance of eight per cent.

A positive balance of 18 per cent of respondents expect workloads to improve over the next 12 months, while five per cent more surveyors expect employment to rise than those expecting a drop.

“Significantly, this is the first positive reading for employment expectations since the first quarter of 2008,” the report said.

“With impending public spending cuts, the construction industry is still likely to face significant challenges over the next twelve to eighteen months,” Rubinsohn said, “but our latest results do provide a chink of light that things are beginning to get better.”