Regions report modest rises, but the North and Scotland flounder

The industry experienced a three-month increase in workload at the start of the year, though the big improvement was mainly confined to London.

Figures from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors show a swing from -12 in the final three months of 2009, to +5 from January to March this year. The higher the positive figure the greater the increase in workload.

The Construction Market Survey also revealed that private commercial workloads increased from -11 to +17. The positive news on workloads has been reflected recently with developers pushing ahead on several major commercial projects, such as the Cheesegrater and the Walkie-Talkie towers in London.

In London and the South-east there was a sharp swing in workloads, rising from -15 to +21. In the Midlands and East Anglia there was a less dramatic swing, from -9 to +10. However, in the North and Scotland the balance remained negative, at -7 and -6 respectively, only slight improvements from the previous quarter. And Northern Ireland suffered terribly, with workloads dropping dramatically from -37 to -59.