Civils firms warn over drop in roads and prelim workloads

Aaron Morby 3 weeks ago

Civils contractors are reporting cooling workloads in the roads and preliminary housing works sectors after several years of roaring growth.

While the civils sector experienced its 10th consecutive quarter of growth this year, according to the latest workload survey by trade body CECA, the slump in new housing and motorway work is sounding early alarm bells.

CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said evidence of falling orders for traditional bellwethers for civil engineering activity should concern policymakers.

“These statistics show that while the UK’s infrastructure sector continues to act as the backbone of UK plc in delivering much-needed economic growth, there could be trouble ahead at a time when we need the industry to be firing on all cylinders,” he said.

“Infrastructure underpins every aspect of our lives and is a major employer in all parts of the country, which is why we are highlighting that these sectors are struggling due to challenges they are facing, not least rising inflation, supply chain disruption, and a loss of business confidence.

“If the UK Government wishes to see progress in meeting its housing ambitions and to deliver the connectivity businesses and communities need to thrive, it must work with industry to understand why bottlenecks are appearing in these sectors, and work to bring projects forward to market without delay.”

Six of the dozen sectors benchmarked in the trade survey reported more firms seeing falling rather than growing workloads. New order levels also follow a similar pattern.

Preliminary works and motorway trunk roads showed the greatest slowdown but non renewable electricity, local roads and airports are also declining.

Order books by type of work (balance of firms reporting growth/decline)

Across the UK country regions, 40% of firms in England continued to report a rise in workloads compared to last year, while firms in Scotland and Wales reported the first net quarterly fall for the first time in several years.

In addition, cost pressures remain elevated for civils firms, with 81% of companies reporting increases of over 5%, while the supply of skilled operatives still remains one of the key supply issues facing contractors across England, Scotland and Wales despite easing demand.

Latest news

Plan approved for tallest resi tower in Wales

£55m project will be built next to Cardiff's Central Square
6 hours ago

Costain dropped from £1.3bn A66 road job

National Highways pulls Costain off TransPennine upgrade and demands its £1bn A12 widening now shared as a JV
22 hours ago

Laing O’Rourke plans to cut 200 staff jobs

Dartford head office to see bulk of job cuts
2 days ago

SES Services restructures senior team

New MD Rob Clifford to head four new divisions at M&E specialist
23 hours ago

Galliford Try ranks top in May contracts league

Kier holds pole position for highest value of work won over last 12 months
23 hours ago

£800m NEPO construction framework winners

BAM, B&K, Caddick, Esh and Morgan Sindall secure places for first time
23 hours ago

Manchester Uni reboots 3,300-bed campus plan

Initial £7m demolition package out to tender ahead of planning submission
23 hours ago

Subcontractors wanted across Derbyshire

Register now to meet big name buyers at latest Constructionline event
23 hours ago

House builder Lane End owes £12m to suppliers

Administrators probing claims by creditors about company transactions prior to failure
3 days ago

£500m Suffolk construction framework winners

Fourteen contractors and seven M&E specialists secure spots on East of England framework
2 days ago

Illegal cartel whistleblower reward raised to £250,000

Competition watchdog hikes rewards to flush out more construction bid rigging activity
2 days ago

McLaren wins £28m East London health centre job

New three-storey health centre to be built in Hornchurch
2 days ago

Balfour sells telecoms division to Obelisk

Irish infrastructure firm continues expansion plans with Balfour acquisition
3 days ago

Blackburn M65 £20m junction 5 revamp to go-ahead

Balfour Beatty to be confirmed this week to start mobilising in November for 2025 start
2 days ago

Unfit planning system means 4,700-year wait for onshore wind

Call for urgent planning reform for even a chance to meet net zero and housing ambitions
2 days ago

Commercial work boosts construction new orders

Buyers report inflation easing to its weakest for 32 months
3 days ago

Mace, T&T and Atkins secure place on MoD framework

JV wins provide technical services on £5bn defence optimisation programme
2 days ago

Enabling works start on £200m Cambridge station

Murphy starts site preparation ahead of main contractor award next month
4 days ago

Industry aims to be almost diesel-free by 2035

Big players agree first steps to eliminate diesel from most sites
3 days ago

Weston Homes plans £50m East London scheme

Land deal for 147 homes at Town Quay Wharf in Barking
3 days ago

Lee Marley Brickwork hires Countryside regional FD

Matt Sheehan joins from house builder's partnerships arm
3 days ago

Demolition deal awarded on Chancery Lane refurb

General Demolition Ltd lands demolition and enabling works package
3 days ago

Contractors no longer lagging on digital transformation

Construction shrugs-off image as late adopter of technology
3 days ago

Work stops on MAC education job

MAC-Interiors seeks protection from creditors as subbies walk away from Birmingham site
4 days ago

HS2 labour supply firm posts loss despite revenue jump

Hercules Site Services confident about future prospects despite HS2 slow down
4 days ago

Graham to lead UPP push for next generation green campuses

Student campus developer strikes deal with Architype to design and retrofit next generation net zero student halls
4 days ago

NG Bailey appoints Sellafield chief as NED

Martin Chown joins M&E contractor main board
4 days ago

EN:Procure wants firms for £700m new-build homes deal

Regional social housing consortium Efficiency North to renew house building partners
4 days ago

£470m tunnel plan for Scotland’s landslip-prone A83

Scottish Government plans 1-mile long debris flow shelter to protect vehicles from falling rocks
4 days ago

Developer dumps Henry Construction from London tower job

Growing list of subcontractors and suppliers complain they have not been paid
7 days ago

Contractor services