“Brexit fatigue” sees surveyors report construction output grow

Grant Prior 5 years ago
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The industry is getting on with life as its patience with Brexit related indecision wears thin according to the latest RICS Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey.

Quarter two results show output growth accelerating and workload and employment expectations gathering pace for the year ahead.

The quarter saw 16% more surveyors reporting an increase in construction workloads, up from a +9% net balance in Q1.

RICS Senior Economist, Jeffrey Matsu, said: “Three years on and the long, unrelenting shadow of Brexit uncertainty is testing the mettle of the construction industry.

“After a prolonged period of delays and underinvestment, businesses now appear to be fed up and are proceeding cautiously with new hiring and intentions to invest.

“While much of this is likely to be backfilling or maintaining existing capacity, the requirements of larger projects such as Hinkley Point C and HS2 are constraining growth opportunities elsewhere.

“With the range of possible outcomes related to Brexit as wide as ever, we expect to see continued volatility in the construction output data but in the meanwhile foresee workload activity stabilising.”

Following a dip in Q1, workloads in the infrastructure sector improved in Q2 and there was also modest growth in commercial and public non-housing activity.

Looking to the year ahead, workloads are expected to be most resilient in the private housing and infrastructure sectors with 27% and 25% more surveyors, respectively, anticipating activity to rise rather than fall.

The RICS market confidence indicator – a composite measure of workload, employment and profit margin expectations over the coming twelve months – rebounded to 21% (from 13% in Q1).

Investments related to equipment, software and worker training are expected to gather pace as well.

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