East Anglia: RICS survey reveals increased workloads for region’s construction firms

Construction workloads in the East of England have risen for a second consecutive quarter, says RICS

Construction workloads in the East of England have risen for a second consecutive quarter, says RICS - Credit: Archant

CONSTRUCTION workloads in the East of England have continued to rise, according to a new survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS)

And, nationally, the number of surveyors who have seen workloads increase in the past quarter is the highest since the end of 2007.

A net balance of 26% more surveyors in the East reported a rise rather than a fall in workloads during the first quarter of 2013, the second consecutive positive reading for the region.

Respondents to the survey reported that the increase was predominately driven by private commercial and housing development.

The neighbouring regions of London, the South East and the Midlands also saw increases during the last quarter.

Regional differences were apparent elsewhere the country, with Northern Ireland and Scotland continuing to see workloads slip. RICS says the sector in these parts of the UK remains particularly depressed and the picture shows no immediate signs of improving.

Looking ahead, however, surveyors expect the current more positive trend to continue overall. A net balance of 20% more respondents expect workloads to rise over the coming 12 months, which RICS said was a welcome indication that some confidence was gradually returning to the industry.

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The increase in construction projects and the expectation of further gains also resulted in a rise in job expectations. A net balance of 23% more chartered surveyors anticipate employment levels rising over the course of the year while profit margins are also expected to be positive.

East of England RICS spokeswoman Dayle Bayliss said: “It is welcome news that confidence seems to be slowly returning to the East of England construction market.

“Allowances for first time buyers in Budget 2013 were naturally welcomed by the sector. However; I was interested to see that the positive results were not founded on home building alone. Private commercial developments also seem to be picking up, while the outlook for the year ahead remains positive.

“Of course, this is on the back of an exceptionally difficult period and other UK regions still seem to be struggling. Nevertheless, it appears that the economic environment may be improving for the region’s construction sector.”