Most construction firms are working on projects

Two thirds of construction companies that survived the economic crash have projects to work on at the moment.

They are bidding for more tenders than before, but their confidence in the future in still waning.

The sluggish activity in the sector remains evident, with more than half of firms feeling less confident about growth than they were three months ago.

This was according to the results of a trade survey conducted for the Construction Industry Federation.

It revealed the widely divergent experiences of companies battling for work at the moment.

Two thirds of builders surveyed were working and almost the same amount expect the number of jobs they are competing for to at least remain stable through the summer.

But in the last three months a third of companies had reduced their workforce, compared with a fifth who had taken on more staff.

Director general of the CIF Tom Parlon said he believes the survey results are still positive.

“Most construction companies are actually on site at present, so that is positive news and a positive sign for the industry.

“This positivity is backed up by the statistic in the CIF Construction Confidence Index which deals with activity.

“It shows that six out of 10 companies have seen their activity increase or stay at the same level over the last three months,” he said.

The survey of 328 companies also discussed what problems they have experienced as they try to trade out of the recession.

Below-cost tendering was a big issue to emerge, as was the ability of businesses that fold up to clear the slate and compete against firms who have tried to honour their commitments.

“The amount of contractors going into liquidation on a Friday and tendering again in a different guise on a Monday has got to stop,” Mr Parlon said.

He said this was compounded by the level of activity in the black economy, with people winning the right to do jobs but keeping the proceeds off the books.


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