The latest projections from the cost service BCIS point to further reductions in tender price over the next two years despite expected rises in input prices.

The latest figures show a fall of 1.2% in the first quarter of this year, followed by no growth in the second quarter, while costs have been surging.

Brought down to basics what the figures mean is that many firms will be looking at greater risk and thinner margins, and in many cases nasty losses.

The projections are based on a recession with consecutive drops of 2% and 3% over the next two years, before we see a rise in construction output in the latter stages of 2010.

Looking at figures it seems that construction firms will have to take a squeeze of between about 6% and 7% of turnover in each of the next two years. Naturally that squeeze will not be spread evenly, but it does mean that the survival of many firms will be put in jeopardy.

Or looking at it another way, if the industry doesn't find "efficiency" gains firms will be looking at the loss of about £8 billion in the coming year in margins and a further similar squeeze in the following 12 months.

These are crude figures, but the message is clear. If these forecasts hold true, many of the weak or debt-laden firms will go to the wall.

So, fingers crossed that Mr Darling comes up with the goods.