The UK’s construction sector remains buoyant in the wake of rising workloads and a renewed growth in infrastructure activity, according to a closely-followed survey from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) out today.
In the last three months 20 per cent more chartered surveyors reported a rise rather than a fall in their workloads, driven by a robust take-up of activity in the private housing and infrastructure sectors following recent support from the government.
With major projects such as Heathrow expansion and Hinkley Point C getting the green light in recent months, Rics found that the near-term outlook for the construction industry “remains upbeat”.
“Despite challenging market conditions and Brexit looming, overall construction output in the UK is up on the second quarter of the year, and in particular it's very positive to see that workloads for much needed new homes and infrastructure are increasing,” according to Hew Edgar, head of policy at Rics.
Edgar added: “For three years our respondents have highlighted workloads rising in private housing, however whilst driving the growth in construction, the UK is yet to reach Government’s target of 300,000 new homes per annum. The last time the UK built more than 300,000 new homes per year was in the 1970s when council houses accounted for around half of the total.”
However, respondents pointed to a softening of growth over the year ahead, with the proportion of house surveyors expecting a rise in activity dropping in the last quarter from 41 per cent to 33 per cent. Jeffrey Matsu,
Rics senior economist, said: “While ongoing capacity constraints have supported steady workload activity, the outlook going forward is far from clear. Recent Brexit-related indecision has added considerably to this uncertainty, but whatever the outcome, the pace of growth is expected to decelerate if only due to cyclical market conditions.”