The growth in the profitability of construction firms has slowed and may be about to come to an end, according to a report published by information solutions firm Experian this week.
Despite this gloomy forecast, the report found that construction was one of only four sectors to improve returns in the 12 months to March. Profitability rose almost a fifth over the year from 14.5% to 16.9% – the highest figure on record.

This puts building and construction in fifth place in the overall rankings for UK industry, compared with 10th place in the first quarter of last year.

The report warned, however, that the growth in profitability over the past 12 months was about to end because of projects cancelled earlier this year and an over-reliance on public sector spending and housebuilding.

The survey examined the audited results of Britain's 2000 largest companies. It showed that industry overall suffered its eighth consecutive quarter of declining profit – largely as a result of the economic slowdown.

  • Another survey has found that construction companies that employ fewer than 250 people need to invest more time and money in staff training – a key recruitment incentive – in order to attract more quality workers.

    The Benchmark Index Report, commissioned by the Construction Best Practice Programme, surveyed 170 firms. It also found that the average value of orders placed by construction companies is 60% lower for a typical supplier than in other industries, implying that the industry uses more suppliers than it needs to.