Experts at CECA revealed a slight recovery in the civils sector, but warned that it might not be sustained.

The civils sector has seen an unexpected upswing during the first two months of the new government, but civil engineering trade body CECA warned of forthcoming woes.

Figures from the Civil Engineering Contractor Association’s trade survey show a decrease in the number of firms reporting a drop in workload. The improvement in figures was driven mainly by more private work in the utilities sectors.

However, the majority of contractors (51%) still reported that they have less work now than they did at the same point in 2009, while 27% reported a higher workload.

Alasdair Reisner, head of industry affairs at the CECA, said: “At a time when the industry is still struggling to bounce back from the recession, any improvement in contractors’ workloads is welcome. However, we need to treat this apparent upswing with caution. The results remain in negative territory with only those sub-sectors of the industry that rely on private sector clients showing any improvement.

“Even here there is no guarantee that this recovery will be sustained. Civil engineering contractors will face a difficult time over the next few years, particularly as the impact of public sector spending cuts starts to bite.”