Residential and non-residential activity in June recorded a slight fall from May, but civil engineering rose sharply. Orders and tender enquiries grew quickly, with orders at the highest level ever recorded, and tenders at their highest for six months.
This suggests that growth in the industry is likely to continue over the next three months, a finding that is backed up by Construction Forecasting and Research's leading construction activity indicator. This provides a short-term forecast of activity levels in the construction industry, and it suggests that activity is going to increase at about the present rate until October.
The amount of work-in-hand in the building sectors has fallen slightly since March, although it has increased in the civil engineering sector. Residential firms are doing the best here.
As the construction market grows warmer, so does the labour market: employment prospects are good, particularly for civil engineers, and one in five firms reported that it was constrained by a lack of labour.
According to the DTI's latest data, construction output in Britain rose 2% in the first quarter of 2003 compared with the same period a year earlier, but was down 3% on the previous quarter. The fastest growing sectors were housing and public non-residential.
The survey is conducted monthly among about 800 firms throughout the UK and the analysis is broken down by size of firm, sector of the industry and region. The results are weighted to reflect the size of respondents. In addition to the results published in this extract, all of the monthly topics are available by sector, region and size of firm. In addition, quarterly questions seek information on materials costs, labour costs and work in-hand.
This an extract from the monthly Focus survey of construction activity undertaken by Experian Business Strategies on behalf of the European Commission as part of its suite of harmonised EU business surveys. The full survey results and further information on Experian Business Strategies' forecasts and services can be obtained from: 0870-196 8263 or www.constructionfutures.co.uk.