Public-sector work gives industry a boost as private sector weakens.

The construction industry is continuing to grow at a healthy rate, despite intense cost pressures, according to the Construction Products Association’s latest survey. CPA chief executive Michael Ankers said that growth had largely been sustained by an increase in public sector building work, which had offset weakening private sector activity.

He said: “The industry anticipates that further increases in public sector work will sustain industry growth over the next 12 months as the government strives to deliver planned investment in schools, hospitals, housing and the transport infrastructure."

The survey shows that that has been a modest overall rise in sales of construction products during the third quarter of the year, and that 24% of contractors reported an increase in output volume compared with the same period last year. Overall, those surveyed said they expected further growth over the coming year, but some expressed concerns about recruiting skilled site labour and the increase of material prices.

Chief executive of the Construction Confederation, Stephen Ratcliffe, said: “Firms report an across the board deterioration in the availability of specific trades, with an increase in the proportion of firms reporting difficulties recruiting bricklayers, plasterers and carpenters.”