The workload of civil engineering companies has decreased over the past 12 months, according to a survey by trade body Civil Engineering Contractors Association
Forty per cent of the civil engineers surveyed said that their workload had decreased, whereas 30% said they were undertaking more. The net decrease is the first since April 2001, indicating a slowdown in what was thought to be a booming sector.

The association also highlighted problems in the water and transport sectors. In Scotland the replacement of the three regional water authorities by Scottish Water has delayed projects, while CECA member firms in England and Wales have complained that clients in the sector have failed to produce designs for schemes that should be up and running by now.

The transport sector has been hit by delays in the government’s

10-year transport plan. Capital spending by the Highways Agency is expected to decrease over the next three years, although a glut of projects is likely after the lull.

Local transport work doesn’t seem to match money from government

Jim Turner, CECA

It also appears that local authorities have not undertaken the transport infrastructure projects for which they have budgeted. The association’s economic adviser, Jim Turner, said: “With local transport, it is a bit of a mystery that the amount of work carried out does not seem to be matching up with the money the government is giving to local authorities.”

Turner is also an adviser to the Federation of Master Builders. Its survey for April to June showed an increase in workload for the 16th quarter in succession. Turner said that contractors in this sector were having a more successful time than civil engineering firms because of private residential projects. This remains a buoyant sector.