CONSTRUCTION NEWS BAROMETER SIGNALS SIGNS OF RECOVERY

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More than two-thirds of directors believe turnover will return to

pre-recession levels by end of 2015

Construction News, the leading brand for the UK construction and building industry has announced the results of its inaugural Construction News Barometer, a new quarterly survey which measures the views of the chief executives, chairmen and senior directors of the CN100 index of the UK’s largest contractors. The results reveal a strong level of optimism, tempered by fears of rising costs and a suspicion that private sector clients put low bid costs ahead of innovation, skills or project experience when awarding work.

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The single biggest concern, however, is a lack of skilled staff, identified by almost 80 per cent of respondents. Fears over an impending skills crisis were highlighted by the CITB earlier this month when it warned of a skills “time bomb” in construction, as 400,000 people retire in the next 10 years.

 

· 52 % and 60 % of respondents cited fears over rising material prices and labour costs respectively, as among their biggest concerns for the coming year. 77% say private clients put ‘significant’ weight on low bid costs.

· 68 % say the post-2015 plans for infrastructure spending will provide a “significant boost” for the industry.

 

· 57 % think a Labour government would spend more on infrastructure than the coalition government, and 96 % believe the current government needs to do more to boost construction growth.

 

· Almost a third of construction chiefs do not back the business case for High Speed 2 and 28 per cent feel it will not benefit them.

 

· Industry leaders see the greatest business opportunities over the next year in house-building, rail and education – each selected by 70 per cent of respondents.

 

Rebecca Evans, Editor, Construction News, said:

“As one of the biggest indicators of the health of the economy, the construction industry is showing real signs of hope for recovery on the horizon. But it’s too soon to call it for certain and external shifts – in the economy or politics – could still significantly affect the industry’s course. It’s for this reason that we felt the time was right to set up the Construction News Barometer, which we believe will build a comprehensive picture of the industry’s health.

 

“Overall, our barometer reflects an industry whose leaders are keen to make the most of every opportunity but wary of the difficulties ahead. There are tough decisions to be made and delicate balances to be struck. The Construction News Barometer will measure the industry’s progress along the road to recovery.”

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