Industry activity set to increase in 2006 according to RICS report.

UK construction activity has ridden the storm of a market slowdown and is growing steadily, despite a weak private housing sector, according to the RICS.

After a jump in growth in the previous quarter, in the last three months of 2005 10% more chartered surveyors reported a rise than a fall in workloads compared with 29% in the third quarter.

RICS economist David Stubbs said: “Construction companies are still troubled by rising costs but the overall picture is of an industry that has staved off any marked slowdown and is well placed to grow in line with increased business demand later in the year.”

The RICS said that the industry was yet to feel the benefit of higher demand in the UK housing market, but that public sector projects continued to be a “fertile source of work”, with levels of infrastructure building rebounding strongly.

Although high materials and energy prices have dampened profit expectations, the RICS said that many industry professionals believed that these higher costs would be more than offset by an increase in demand later in the year.

“Public sector investment is set to grow rapidly and the industry should soon start to reflect the pick-up in housing market activity,” Stubbs added.