Small construction firms in recession for four years as demand keeps falling

WORKLOADS fell again in the final quarter of 2011, with the last expansion among SMEs taking place in the first three months of 2008, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) reported yesterday.

However, rising exports and a focus on non-Eurozone markets went some way towards offsetting the decline in domestic demand, according to the Construction Products Association (CPA).

Work volumes deteriorated in the three-month period according to a net balance of 21 per cent of respondents to the FMB’s survey – up from 15 per cent in the previous quarter and the worst reading since early 2010.

However, 34 per cent of light side manufacturers, involved in areas like internal fittings, and 17 per cent of heavy side firms, in goods like concrete and steel, saw exports grow.

A further 55 per cent of light side and 71 per cent of heavy side manufacturers managed to maintain export levels in the quarter.

“Against a difficult domestic backdrop, it is encouraging to see exports growing strongly” said CPA economist Kelly Forrest.