Civil engineering workloads fall in second quarter


Civil engineers have reported a drop in workloads over the second quarter of 2012, according to the latest Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) workload trends survey.

A fifth more CECA members reported a decrease in workloads rather than an increase over the period. The fall comes after two quarters of marginal growth for CECA members.

CECA called on the government to take rapid action to prevent a double-dip recession for the infrastructure sector.

Prior to the two quarters of growth in Q4 2011 and Q1 2012, the infrastructure sector experienced 14 consecutive quarters of decline.

Alasdair Resiner, CECA director of external affairs, said: “The government has rightly placed infrastructure provision at the centre of its growth strategy. These alarming figures show that this strategy has stalled.

“Despite strong performance in the regulated sectors, efforts to stimulate activity across the wider infrastructure industry are not feeding through. Companies have reported a collapse in workload that will mean the construction sector continues to act as a brake on the rest of the economy, preventing a return to growth.

“These are alarming signs for those who have identified infrastructure as the primary driver to effect recovery. Currently, the industry is not just stuck in second gear - it is actively reversing.

“The government needs to act immediately if the infrastructure sector is to fulfil its potential as a driver towards recovery. More can be done to give the economy a much-needed ‘shot in the arm’ via the construction sector, through the unlocking of stalled projects, and particularly targeted investment in maintenance and minor work activity - both of which would raise output rapidly. We also want more to be done to allow the immediate flow of private finance into the sector.

“Until action is taken, the alarming signs are that a double-dip recession in the sector will take hold. This is bad news for jobs and growth, and for the government’s overarching aim of deficit reduction.

“The industry has the potential to jump-start the economy. It is time for the government to turn the ignition.”