A survey OF UK construction consultants has revealed a high level of corporate activity in the professions, with more than half involved in merger or acquisition talks in the past 12 months.
The survey, by accountant Smith and Williamson, found that 52% of those surveyed had either approached or been approached by a firm seeking a merger or a purchase. Nineteen per cent said they were actively seeking to merge with, or buy, another company and more than 80% of respondents said they would consider a deal.

The survey found that Europe was considered to be the most attractive market, followed by North America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand.

The survey, which questioned 64 chartered surveyors, architects and QSs, also found that 70% of firms were very, or reasonably, confident about their prospects despite the effect of 11 September.

Meanwhile, the Construction Products Association, in a quarterly survey released today, said that although business confidence had plummeted since 11 September, its members still expected sales to increase this year.

The survey for the final quarter of last year found that 65% of firms said general business confidence and sales fell after the attacks. But longer-term prospects for the industry were better, with more than 40% of firms expecting sales to increase this year. Of these, 40% expect them to increase by more than 5%.

CPA economic director Allan Wilén said increased government spending was behind the positive outlook. He said: "Given the recent deterioration in the economic environment, the timely delivery of promised government investment is all the more important."