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Sat February 27 2021

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Enquiries hit 21st century high for construction’s specialists

13 May 14 Order books and enquiries across construction’s specialist sector are clearly on the rise, a new survey shows.

NSCC chief executive Suzannah Nichol
NSCC chief executive Suzannah Nichol

The National Specialist Contractors' Council (NSCC) state of trade survey for the first quarter of 2014 found that 59% of specialist contractors reported an increase in enquiries, which is the highest it has been since the tail-end of the 20th century. The number reporting a decrease in enquiries fell to 15%.

The increased level of enquiries also translated into more orders, with 50% of respondents reporting an increase since the last quarter, which is 23% up on this time last year. With 24% reporting a decrease, the balance of orders is now at 26 points, which is the highest it has been since Q2 2007.

As a result, specialist contractors are feeling more positive about the future than they have for some time, the NSCC said. The report shows that 54% anticipate their workload increasing over the next quarter and 71% expect to see an increase over the next year, the highest result ever recorded by the survey.

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80% of respondents reported an increase in suppliers’ prices, up from 71% last quarter. For the first time in since Q2 2008, no respondents indicated a decrease in suppliers’ prices.

Late payment is still a major issue with just 14% of respondents reporting that they were paid within 30 days and 63% waiting between 30 and 60 days for their money. 23% indicated it took between 60 and 90 days to receive payment, well above the five-year average for the survey.

NSCC chief executive Suzannah Nichol said: “It’s hugely encouraging to see that enquiries and orders have increased significantly for specialist contractors in the last quarter and the latest NSCC state of trade report is generally a cause for optimism across the board. Nevertheless, the figures on payment show that there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to making fair payment a reality throughout the industry and it is important that we keep working together on this.”

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