The results of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) workload trends survey for Q3 2013 reveal a significant rise in the number of companies reporting increasing activity, with 58% of firms seeing more work in the last 12 months than the same period a year ago. Just 14% reported falling workload, producing a balance of +44%.
This is a massive rise on the figures for Q2, where the balance was -2%.
Workload figures have been in the red throughout much of the downturn. The last time figures were more positive than today was in 2007.
Contractors expect these positive conditions to continue, with a balance of +40% predicting they will have more work in a year’s time than now.
Compared to 12 months ago, tender prices were higher, on balance, for 26% and 22% of firms for new construction work and improvements, and for repair and maintenance work, respectively.
The majority of firms (72%) reported that costs had increased by up to 5% compared to 12 months earlier with 4% reporting increases of over 5%. Overall, on balance, 71% of firms reported an increase in costs.
CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner welcomed the boost to activity for the association’s members, but warned that concerns remained for the sector. He said: “After the challenges of recent years it is encouraging to see some real growth in workload for the UK’s civil engineering contractors.
“We recognise that this growth has been supported by the actions of Government, which has worked with industry to unlock vital infrastructure investment projects across the country.
“However it is essential that as the wider economy returns to growth, there is no loss of focus on the continuing need to invest in our national transport and utility networks. A booming economy does not remove the need to tackle congestion and energy security – in fact it makes tackling these issues even more critical.”