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Scottish civil contractors see no light at the end of the tunnel

13 Feb 19 Workloads for Scottish civil engineering contractors are now at their lowest in nine years, according to a new survey.

CECE Scotland's Grahame Barn
CECE Scotland's Grahame Barn

The latest workload trends survey from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (Scotland) found that civils workloads declined for the fifth quarter in a row, conditions have deteriorated and outlook remains weak.

CECA Scotland chief executive Grahame Barn said: “With half of Scottish firms reporting a further decline in orders over the last quarter, there appears to be no light at the end of the tunnel for Scotland’s civils contractors.”

Civils contractors also reported difficulties recruiting skilled staff, with one in two reporting supply issues - the highest in four years - and almost all (96%) reporting a rise in costs.

The survey, which covers the fourth quarter of 2018, survey tests for changes in the past year in workload, workforce, order books, cost trends and tender prices. Results have been published quarterly since 2005. CECA Scotland represents more than 110 contractors of all sizes, covering approximately 80% of the civil engineering market in Scotland.   

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In Q4, 42% of Scottish firms, on balance, reported an annual fall in workloads, the fifth successive quarter of decline and the lowest in nine years.

Barn added: “We now more than ever in these times of uncertainty, need to see concerted action from the Scottish and UK governments to support Scotland’s civils sector. Investment in infrastructure is not only central to Scotland’s future economic prosperity, it transforms how we all live and work.”

Members of the Scottish Parliament are currently considering the future of the Scottish construction sector (link opens in new tab).

“This ongoing workload crisis highlights the urgent need for change to secure its future and rightful place at the heart of Scotland’s economy,” said Barn.

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