Four out of five civil engineering contractors are still experiencing falling workloads, new research has indicated.
The latest quarterly workload trends survey by the Civil Engineering Contractors Association shows that its members are experiencing the worst trading conditions ever recorded.
Some 80% of companies reported that their workloads had fallen compared to the same time last year, with just 3% reporting increased workload.
“It is especially worrying that so many companies are reporting a fall, as these figures might have been expected to be higher year-on-year due to the impact of the Government’s ‘fiscal stimulus’ spending on infrastructure in the last 12 months,” a CECA statement said.
“Now the industry is to be hit by a ‘double whammy’ as not only is the fiscal stimulus funding being removed, but the industry also faces the prospect of significant cuts to public spending following the forthcoming
Forward orderbooks for civil engineering contractors are also worring. Some 78% of firms reported that they had lower orders now than a year ago (just 14% had higher orders), while 93% expected their workload to be as low or lower in 12 months’ time.
Other key findings of the survey include:
• 69 per cent of firms have cut number of skilled operatives in the last year
• 82 per cent report lower tender prices for new work
• Resource availability problems are now almost non-existent
CECA national director Rosemary Beales said: “These figures must put the Government on red alert. The economy is on a knife edge with a danger of slipping back into recession. The growth required to prevent this situation can only be achieved by investing in critical infrastructure.
“Yet at this very moment the UK looks set to face an ‘infrastructure crunch’, as under-investment leads to congestion and failure of our networks. It is vital that the private and public sector work together to address these issues, releasing the brake that will otherwise stifle the UK’s return to growth.”