Workloads in the SME building sector continued to slide in the second quarter of 2009, the latest state of trades survey by the Federation of Master Builders has revealed

The survey, which is the only one to report on SMEs in construction, showed almost half of FMB firms, 49%, reported a decline in workloads in the three months up to June. Just 3% recorded an increase in work.

But the data showed the rate of decline slowed in the second quarter, suggesting that the downturn in construction could be starting to bottom out, the FMB said.

In most sectors, the majority of members said they predicted “no change” in the coming quarter. Almost 51% of respondents said they expected no change in workloads for the private new build sector, for example, compared with 61% who had predicted a decline in the previous quarter.

Commenting on the results, director-general of the FMB Richard Diment said: “The survey shows just how far away from green shoots we actually are. Although the rate of decline does seem to be easing and may even be starting to bottom out, we are not out of the woods yet.”