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Private housing sector drives construction recovery

A revival in the construction industry is being driven by the private housing sector, although skills shortages threaten the pace of recovery, according to the latest RICS UK Construction Market Survey for Q1 2014.

The speed at which confidence is returning to the market is revealed by the fastest rate of growth in workloads since the Construction Market survey began in 1994 (net balance 43 per cent), with improvement being driven by the private sector and, in particular, the commercial housing sector over the next 12 months. Most significantly, the effects are expected to be felt across the whole of the UK, rather than exclusively reserved to the London and South East hotspots.

However, the feel good factor is being tempered by a further increase in reported skills shortages across many trades and in most parts of the UK. Furthermore, the national picture reveals that 41 per cent of respondents believe there are insufficient numbers of quantity surveyors currently available to meet rising supply demands.

Despite this, the continuing recovery in output in the sector will see further job gains with respondents forecasting three per cent year-on-year growth in the employment footprint – an additional 62,000 new employees being recruited into the construction industry.

RICS director of built environment, Alan Muse, said: “Clearly what we are seeing as the recovery takes shape, is that the impact of skills shortages in parts of the country where companies failed to invest in attracting new talent or in the training of existing employees at the height of the economic downturn. Now that the industry is experiencing an upturn in workload that is broadening out across the whole of the UK, it must ensure it has the capability to capitalise on these opportunities.”


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