Construction growing its quickest for 20 years

22nd April 2014

Contractors are beginning to turn down tendering opportunities in the face of growing workloads and skills shortages.

The latest Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors survey for the first quarter of 2014 found members reporting the highest upturn in workloads since the survey began 20 years ago. Private housing, commercial and industrial sectors, which represent around half national construction output, both grew strongly. Rising demand is being seen across most of the country and the RICS survey  now expects the industry’s headcount to rise by 3% this year. With about 2.12m employed in construction, this roughly translates into about 64,000 more jobs.  Most significantly a rise in demand is being seen across most of the UK. And now there are strong signs that London and the South East are starting to overheat. Philip Jones at the Oxford office of Ridge and Partners said: “The construction market appears to be starting to overheat. “Contractors are turning down opportunities to tender. This is particularly the case with single stage design and build tenders.”  The ‘feel good’ factor is being tempered by a further increase in reported skills shortages across many trades and in most parts of the country.
Chris Tunbridge at Brighton based BLB Surveyors, said: “We are being affected by the London market where for some trades people, it is more profitable to travel to work in London than to remain in the Brighton region.  “There is still some nervousness within certain sectors and while most contractors are busy there are those who are struggling with the specific sectors they work in. Public sector works is a key example.”  Geoff Allen at Interserve Project Services, said: “As the upturn grows there will be a shortage of construction professionals. Already staff are moving for increased salaries.”