But there are some signs that the continual fall in workloads maybe nearing its end, according to the latest State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders.
Builders report that there has been leveling off in the rate of decline for both residential and non residential work after two and a half years of serious decline.
Brian Berry, director of external affairs at the FMB said: “Underneath the headline results which continue to show decline, we are seeing grounds for some optimism in that workloads and employment are at least beginning to stabilize around their current albeit much reduced levels.”
But he warned: “Looking ahead we have yet to see the details of the Government’s autumn spending review and the impact of the increase in the rate of VAT to 20% next year might jeopardize the recovery, resulting in thousands of jobs losses and push the building industry back into recession.”
The second quarter survey showed that 46% of FMB companies undertaking private new housing and 60% undertaking social new housing reported no change in workloads.
Six out of 10 firms said they did not expect to make any staffing changes over the next six months.
Berry added: “Even without further decline we have some very serious problems.
“For example, private new housing workloads have been declining every quarter since quarter three of 2007 and new social housing has only seen workload growth in two quarters since 1999.
“There needs to be significant growth, and not just in housing but in the construction sector as a whole if we are to have a sustained recovery.