Small Builders’ workload levelled off and specialist contractors’ dropped significantly in the second quarter of 1999, according to the latest quarterly state-of-trade survey from the Federation of Master Builders.

The survey showed that, despite the economic upturn, expectations of more work had not materialised.

About 1% more FMB members reported a drop in workload than a rise during the second quarter of 1999. The figures also showed up differences between builders and specialists. One-third of builders said workload had gone up; 24% said it had fallen. But only 13% of specialists recorded an increase, and more than half said work had fallen in the second quarter.

The survey also found big variations between regions. Work in London continues to rise fastest, with 28% more members reporting a rise than a fall. But in South Wales – the worst-performing region – 27% more members said workloads were lower than higher in the first three months of 1999.

Private housing maintenance, repair and improvement was the strongest sector, with 9% more logging a rise than a fall. New-build social housing was the weakest, with 36% of those surveyed saying their workload had fallen.