Medium-sized construction companies are paying increased fees to subcontractors but are benefiting from fuller order books, according to an unofficial Pricewaterhouse Coopers survey.
Two in three executives of the 22 FTSE-250 to FTSE-500 companies questioned said subcontractors had raised prices; 19 claimed order books had increased – six by more than 20%. However, respondents were divided over margins: half said average margins on tendered work were about the same.

Another study by the government-sponsored Business Link body has found that two-thirds of small and medium-sized contractors are shunning strategic advice from experts. Business Link said smaller contractors that listened to such advice made an average gross profit of £216,000 in the past year – nearly double that of those that did not.

Martin Wyn Griffith, who heads up Business Link National Business Advice Service, said: "Unfortunately in construction, the majority of SMEs are not taking strategic advice from experts, which means they are missing out on potential benefits."