Surveyors are also losing confidence in construction workload, according to a RICS survey for the second quarter of 2000.

The number of surveyors expecting workloads to rise over the next three months dropped from 45% in the first quarter to 36% in the second. But the result is higher than the 23% that expected a rise a this time last year.

Paul Morrell, senior partner in Davis Langdon & Everest, said the slowdown was a reflection of the steady nature of the market at the moment. “The figures reflect what is going on. It will be steady as she goes for a couple of years. The market feels well-balanced and we can plan ahead and recruit with confidence,” he said.

Chartered surveyors also reported a slower increase in activity in the second quarter compared with the first, with 20% of those surveyed reporting a rise in total workload, compared with 24% in the first quarter.

The sector with the greatest downturn in activity was commercial property. The number of surveyors reporting a rise in workload fell to 28% in the second quarter from 42% in the first.

“The commercial sector is still pretty healthy and there will be no collapse as there are still a few big headline projects planned for the South-east,” said Morrell.

On a regional level, workloads are strong in the South-east, the Midlands and Scotland but flat in the North, Wales and South-west.

Product manufacturers saw output increase in the second quarter of the year, according to the Construction Products Association’s quarterly State of Trade survey. As a further mark of confidence in the sector, 50% of the firms surveyed expected third quarter output to be higher than a year earlier.