British Constructional Steelwork Association president Jack Sanderson, said: “The past year has been the most difficult one for the steel construction industry for the past 20 years.
“Steel construction companies have taken the painful steps to adjust to the reduced workload levels, while preserving their essential capabilities for the upturn.”
The brunt of the fall in the steel construction sector has been felt by the private sector, but public sector projects such as schools, hospitals and infrastructure have held up so far.
But over the coming years new infrastructure investment, including power generation plants, is expected to boost order books, with volumes starting to recover from next year.
“Steel’s market share is holding up and the underlying long term demand for steel construction remains sound. Members are well placed to respond quickly to the recovery which is expected to start next year, although the pace of recovery is likely to be modest.”
Mr Sanderson said the BCSA and Corus would now work together on the long-term funding of research and market development. As part of the agreement, approximately 10 Corus staff will join BCSA on long-term secondment.