Construction Trade Survey February 2019

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  • The final quarter of 2018 was a mixed one for the construction industry.
  • Product manufacturers reported rises in sales and workloads increased for SME builders.
  • Output was reported lower for main contractors and specialist contractors, whilst workloads declined for civil engineers during the quarter.
  • The weakness in contractors’ workloads was broad-based across sectors from private housing to commercial, whilst for civil engineers, the decreases in activity were reported in seven out of ten infrastructure sub-sectors, including local roads and railways.
  • Product manufacturers remain optimistic, with expectations of rising sales over the next 12 months.
  • Main contractors’ order books for all new build sectors were reported to be lower in Q4, whereas order books for housing R&M were reported to have increased compared to the previous quarter.
  • On balance, enquiries increased for 14% of SME builders in Q4, but this was the lowest in two years, whilst new orders declined for 8% of civil engineers, despite major projects in the infrastructure sector.
  • Orders rose for specialist contractors, in contrast to a fall in enquiries.

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