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Quarter Of Construction Workloads Risen In Q1
The construction industry has experienced a boost this year, as a quarter of surveyors have reported an increase in workloads for the first three months of 2018.
Earlier this week, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) released its Infrastructure Market Survey, which found 23 per cent of its members have had a busier workload during the first quarter of the year.
This result could have been even higher had it not been for the ‘Beast from the East’ the UK experienced in February, as 63 per cent of surveyors noted that inclement weather played a major part in limiting their activity during the winter months.
As well as bad weather conditions, 76 per cent of surveyors stated financial constraints held their work plans back, along with delays in planning and labour shortages.
The area that saw the most demand was private housing, where 36 per cent more respondents noted an increase in work as opposed to a decline from the previous three-month period.
However, scaffolding companies have also been kept busy, as the RICS survey revealed 21 per cent more contributors have had a rise in workload rather than a fall in the infrastructure sector.
“Nationally, respondents expect the rail and energy categories to post the most significant increases in construction output over the coming 12 months,” the report stated.
According to the study, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were the ones that will be affected most by Brexit and financial restrictions, with 85 per cent of surveyors saying SMEs are the most constrained by financing issues.
“Comments left by contributors continue to highlight Brexit-related uncertainties,” it went on to say, adding: “Lender behaviour is likely to be impacted by such risk aversion as well.”
In addition to this, construction firms might be worried about the skillset of employees after the UK leaves the European Union.
At the end of last year, seven trade bodies, including the Federation of Master Builders, warned of a skills shortage after Brexit.
They wrote a Construction Industry Brexit Manifesto, highlighting the lack of British workers that are able to meet demand and, therefore, a need to train more apprentices in the sector.
The group suggested a transitional plan so that construction firms can continue to use European labour after Brexit for a period of time without being penalised.
RICS’ latest findings showed a lack of skilled workers is a big concern for those in the industry, particularly in quantity surveying. Indeed, 60 per cent of surveyors stated a shortage of good labour was restricting growth.
The Construction Industry Training Board recently estimated that the sector is set to create 150,000 jobs over the next few years, as a result of many new developments taking place across the UK.
If every role is filled, 2.77 million people could be employed in construction by 2022, which is nearly the same level as the peak of 2008, the Independent reported. However, this is only if there are enough workers with the right skills who can fulfil these roles.