Civil Contractors Forecast Downturn

Civil engineering contractors believe that growth years are now over, according to the first national poll since the EU referendum.

According to the Civil Engineering Contractors Association’s (CECA) most recent quarterly workload trends survey, the sector’s boom period seems to be coming to an end as major projects stall.

In the second quarter of this year, six out of 10 civil engineering subsectors reported a fall in workloads. Compared with a balance of over 20% reported in the first quarter, workloads increased for a net balance of just 2 percentage points; the lowest growth balance in three years.

Alasdair Reisner, Chief Executive of CECA, said that these results are bad news for the UK economy and need to serve as a warning sign for policy makers.

He said: “We know that infrastructure investment is a driver of economic growth. Given the recent disappointing economic forecasts following the Brexit vote, our figures show that the market is slowing just as the country needs it to speed up.

“The new government can’t afford to sit on its hands. There are existing committed programmes of work where we need to see the delivery of schemes – now – if this situation is to be reversed.”

Reisner also believes that unless the government is able to kick on and ensure more work for the construction industry, then a dramatic slowdown in growth is inevitable, which will spell trouble for the 200,000 workers in the sector, as well as bad news for the country on the whole.

Earlier in the month, CECA said that new Prime Minister Theresa May must commit to infrastructure at the start of her tenure.

Reisner commented: “The government must provide certainty on other elements of the country’s infrastructure investment pipeline. After three weeks of uncertainty, the new government must hit the ground running, and commit to a bold infrastructure agenda.”


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BDC 305 Jun 2023