Civils firms hope worst over after 3-year activity fall

Aaron Morby 11 years ago
Share

Civil engineering contractors are beginning to see signs of an improvement in orders and workloads after three years of sharp declines.

According to latest survey figures for the second quarter of 2011, the gap between those reporting falls against rises in work has closed, said the Civil Engineering Contractors Association.

While the trend is still down, sharp falls in workloads have eased raising hope among some firms that the worst is over.

But firms warn that sharp rises in materials costs are eating away at the industry’s margins.

The new survey showed that on balance civils contractors experienced a 9% decline in workload in the three months to June against the same time a year ago.

This is a striking improvement on the start of the year when 27% more firms saw a fall in workload than those reporting a rise.

The improvement was recorded across almost all categories of contractors, with rates of decline slowing across most sectors of work, most sizes of firms, and most areas of the country.

But the squeeze between rising costs and falling tender prices continued to put pressure on contractors’ margins, with an overwhelming 78% of respondents noting that costs were higher than last year.

CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said: “Optimism has been in short supply in construction for some time now, and justifiably so.

“But these latest figures do offer some grounds for hope that a return to growth may be on the cards in the next quarter, potentially ending 13 straight quarters of decline.

He added: “We must remember that the survey still shows industry activity falling, but the rate of the decline is now at its lowest since workload began falling in the second quarter of 2008.

“CECA is increasingly optimistic about prospects for contractors to find work in the growing energy, rail and water sectors, and we’re helping to offer our members guidance to enable them to win work in these growth areas.

“But any gains could still be wiped out if cuts to public investment in infrastructure have the impact many fear is imminent. For that reason any suggestion of a recovery in the infrastructure sector is premature.

“Nonetheless we hope that positive figures in the second half of the year may start to build confidence that the industry is getting back on its feet.”

Latest news

Moving in to new markets paying off for McLaren

Contractor carving out new niche as leading player in heavy refurbs
2 days ago

Plan to add retentions record to payment reporting law

Government consults on tougher reporting to include disputed invoices and retention policies
3 days ago

Morgan Sindall wins £88m Beckton DLR depot upgrade

Delayed work to start on Docklands Light Railway train maintenance depot in East London
2 days ago

Hare and Severfield win £250m Sellafield deal

Country's two biggest steelwork contractors secure 17-year framework
3 days ago

Max Steward returns to head up ISG’s Agility fit-out arm

Former ISG project director returns after three years to take up MD role
3 days ago

McLaren wins massive Portland House refurb

Construction to start this year on £380m revamp of 28-storey building in central London
3 days ago

Green light for £275m HS2 Midlands nerve centre

Trio of contractors battling it out to win huge new depot near Birmingham
3 days ago

Winners named for Government £10bn offsite framework

29 firms secure places on mega framework for schools, healthcare, defence and justice jobs
4 days ago

ISG, Amey and Costain now industry’s quickest payers – list

Average payment times from main contractors slip by a day
4 days ago

Staff at Outco Surfacing start looking for new jobs

Administration notice filed two years after acquisition of NMC Group
4 days ago

£4.75m building work provision tips Higgins into the red

Partnerships business counts cost of changes to building safety rules
3 days ago

John F Hunt snaps up London temporary works design firm

Demolition contractor buys geotechnical and structural engineering design specialist RKD Consultant
4 days ago

Vital Energi lands £13m package at Plumstead regen site

Specialist will start on site this summer helping to transform the former home of Arsenal FC
4 days ago

Galliford Try to start £14m Scunthorpe Market scheme

Firm will build NHS staff accommodation and offices in two phases
4 days ago

Vast £500m British Library expansion go-ahead

London Mayor still needs to give final nod to 800,000 sq ft extension at St Pancras site in London
5 days ago

Wates names new chief executive

Cork-born Eoghan O’Lionaird to join later this month
5 days ago

Keltbray director joins Barhale as North East chief

Mark Wood heads operations in Yorkshire and North East England
5 days ago

Major London City building green deep retrofit approved

St Bride’s Tavern near Fleet Street will be demolished for the building expansion
5 days ago

Gilbert Ash lands starring role in £38m Welsh theatre revamp

Contractor to start work this year on Theatr Clwyd upgrade
4 days ago

Property clients to ramp up spending on decarbonising

Survey reveals nearly half of property chiefs plan to speed up spending on net-zero programmes over next twelve months
5 days ago

Average self employed labour rates top £1,000 a week

Average weekly earnings reach high for skilled trades
6 days ago

BAM wins £49m Harrogate Convention Centre revamp

Local council hopes to sanction work start this autumn
5 days ago

Renaker to top-out Manchester with 71-storey skyscraper

Developer lifts the lid on planned five-building cluster for phase 3 of Great Jackson Street development
6 days ago

Costain bridge lift delayed by ground conditions

National Highways chiefs postpone planned lifting operation
5 days ago

Nexus sells utilities and EV contracting arms for £78m

Group to now focus on remaining business at south east housing civils contractor Tamdown
6 days ago

Speller Metcalfe lands lead role on £40m Tamworth revamp

Town centre to be transformed under ambitious plans
6 days ago

Scaffold boss banned over covid loan abuse

Eleven-year director ban after misuse of £50,000 loan
6 days ago

Gove issues six weeks ultimatum to sign building safety contract

Developers told to sign Government contract issued today or be banned from building homes
7 days ago

Firm fined £120,000 for lifting two builders in a telehandler bucket

Rochdale builder Hoyle Developments fined after repeated safety breaches
1 week ago

Hunt quashes reports HS2 will stop at Old Oak Common

Chancellor says no "conceivable circumstance" where HS2 would not terminate in Central London
1 week ago

Contractor services