Sales of construction products rose during the first quarter of the year and are expected to increase further in quarter two and over the next 12 months, according to the latest State of Trade Survey by the Construction Products Association (CPA).
In addition, exports are anticipated to rise over the next year, boosting prospects for the industry further.
The CPA survey found that 76% of construction product manufacturing firms, on balance, reported a rise in sales in Q1 compared with the previous quarter. In addition, 85% of product manufacturers reported that they anticipate sales rising over the coming year, with half of product manufacturers saying that they expect the rise to be more than 5%.
Overall, 60% of firms reported a rise in costs primarily due to energy and fuel and expects these costs to continue to increase. More than two-thirds of all product manufacturers reported that costs rose in Q4 and over 80% expected that costs would rise in 2014.
The CPA’s economics director, Dr Noble Francis, said: “Construction product sales have risen for the fourth consecutive quarter. Over three-quarters of product manufacturers, on balance, reported sales rising in Q1 compared with the previous quarter.
“This growth was not just driven by house building. Private sector offices and new infrastructure are also rising, adding to the recovery in the housing sector. “
Dr Francis continued: “Looking forward, product manufacturers anticipate the construction recovery to continue in Q2 and over the next year, again due to growth in housing, commercial and infrastructure. As a consequence, 86% of firms, on balance, expect sales to rise in the next 12 months. Exports of construction products rose in Q1 and industry is even more optimistic looking forward.“
However, Dr Francis pointed out the increasing costs remain an issue. He said: “The key concern for manufacturers in Q1 was rising costs. 65% of heavy side manufacturers and 54% of light side manufacturers reported that costs rose compared with a year earlier. These cost rises were due to energy and transport fuel costs, exacerbated by more recent rises in wages and salaries.”