East Anglia: RICS survey points to continued recovery in construction sector
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The construction sector in the East of England is continuing its revival, with increased workloads and a positive outlook for the coming year, according to a new report.
The latest construction market survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of surveyors in the region expect activity of pick up over the next 12 months.
Activity started to edge ahead during the first quarter of 2013, and the RICS survey for the second quarter found a net balance of 24% more surveyors in the region reporting a rise in workloads compared with those seeing a decline.
Although activity remains short of pre-recession levels, the increase is one of the highest in the country, with only London and the South East reporting bigger increases during the second quarter.
Among the sectors in the East to see increased construction activity during the second quarter of the year were industrial, infrastructure and public non-housing schemes.
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RICS says that, with every £1 spent on construction in the UK generating almost £3 of wider economic growth, this rise in activity is good news for the region and the wider economy.
Looking ahead, there is also positive news for employment with nearly half (46%) of surveyors in the region predicting the need for additional staff over the next quarter, while more than a quarter (27%) of respondents are anticipating increased profit margins.
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RICS East of England spokesperson Jonathon Nelson said: “It was hugely welcomed when workloads ticked up in the first quarter of 2013.
“This followed an abysmal 2012 that significantly impacted profit margins, particularly for SME firms.
“Though we are by no means out of the woods it is good news that profit margins and employment prospects for the sector are on a distinctly positive trend.”
However, he added: “Despite these signs there are many construction professionals who will be struggling to stay afloat.
“As economic sentiment continues to pick up it will be important for government to continue supporting struggling SME firms; these are, after all, the lifeblood of UK plc.”