CECA survey shows broader sector remains strong
The infrastructure sector is maintaining its momentum but a drop in preliminary works could spell trouble for firms, according to a Civil Engineering Contractors Association survey.
Results from the workload trends survey for the final quarter of 2022 showed that the year ended with a ninth quarter of growth in workloads, with 26% of British firms reporting an increase.
But 42% of respondents reported a fall in workloads for preliminary works, a category which covers demolition, services and groundworks.
It is the first fall since Q3 of 2020 and CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said they were a “clear concern” and that the fall would disproportionately impact SMEs.
“This shows that UK construction is undertaking less preparatory works for projects, particularly in housing and commercial development,” said Reisner.
“A drop in work of this kind will disproportionately impact SMEs who specialise in preliminary works and hence will act as a brake on the UK government’s aim of levelling up the whole economy.
“Less preliminary works will ultimately feed through to the delivery of less projects, with negative connotations for jobs and growth.
“We call on the UK government to work with industry to identify the pinch-points that are slowing growth in this sector, so we can begin to address them, and ensure that UK infrastructure is firing on all cylinders in all parts of England, Scotland and Wales.”