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Civils firms expect post-election lift off

13 May 15 After a lull in work in in the run-up to the general election, civil engineering contractors are now expecting their sector to take off.

Results from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) workload trends survey for the first quarter of 2015 showed that the pace of growth in output slowed slightly as the nation prepared to go to the polls. But figures for new orders suggest this pause in growth won’t last long.

The balance of firms reporting more work minus those reporting a decline softened to +29% in Q1 2015, down from +52% in the previous quarter.

However there was a rise in new orders. At +59% the balance between those showing rising and falling and rising orders is at its highest level since the downturn, indicating a future boom in activity in the sector.

Healthy order books were offset by supply issues with staff, with more than half of those surveyed reporting difficulties in resourcing sufficiently skilled operatives.

Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Workload Trends 2015 Q1

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CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “There has been a slowdown in growth in our sector as the industry awaited the outcome of an uncertain election. Now that the votes are counted, increased order books show that growth in the sector is poised to take off.

“This shows the results of the last government’s focus on infrastructure as a driver for growth in the economy. It is crucial that the government remains committed to its existing programmes of investment.

 “In order for the industry to thrive, the new government must work with industry to do everything it can to equip the sector for delivering the existing pipeline of projects, and upskill the workforce to deliver the projects of the future.”

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