Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s survey points to deepening recession in all sectors in the second quarter of the year

The contraction in workloads in the civil engineering sector has accelerated in the past three months following a short-lived easing in April, according to new figures.

Bleak results from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) July 2009 Workload Trends Survey points to a deepening recession in all sectors in the second quarter of the year.

Railways, which recorded a positive balance in previous surveys, has now slipped into “substantially negative” territory and the groundworks sector – a “bellweather” for much of the industry – remains in “deep negativity”, CECA said.

Geographically, Wales saw the sharpest deterioration, while the weakening trend in England was less pronounced. In Scotland, the pace of contraction slowed slightly.

All four company categories – organised by size – reported shrinking workloads. The results were most extreme in the mid-scale companies group (300-599 employees), in which every single firm surveyed reported a smaller workload than in July last year.

Rosemary Beales, the CECA national director, warned the reduction in work was forcing tender prices down and urged contractors and clients to consider long-term effects of their actions.

She said: “This survey confirms the widespread feeling that economic recovery is still a long way off. It is imperative that contractors and clients maintain a serious dialogue about sustaining the long-term health of the industry, which is as much in the interests of those who want value for their investment in the nation’s infrastructure as it is in the interests of the contractors who construct and maintain it.”