Hints of Optimism in the Construction Industry

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Byline: Chris Knox

ANEW survey shows that the slump in the North construction industry is bottoming out as workloads fall at a significantly slower pace during the third quarter of the year.

A survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows that fewer chartered surveyors reported falling workloads almost across the board, which mirrors national figures which show that contracts are continuing to dry up at a lesser rate.

Surveyors in the North saw the most improvement in private sector housing, with the number of surveyors reporting increased work moving into positive territory.

Public sector housing work also witnessed an increase, with RICS highlighting increased capital spending from Government, which it said was continuing to filter through into new projects in improved housing.

The pace of workloads in the commercial property sector also witnessed a big improvement, as did projects in the industrial sector.

Nationally, workloads in non-housing public sector construction reached its most positive level since the first quarter of last year, while the commercial and industrial sectors remain the weakest part of the UK's construction industry, with larger negative readings than either public housing or infrastructure.

This pattern was not shared by North East firms during the three month period, with the majority of workers witnessing a decline in non-housing public sector contracts coming to the market.

RICS North East spokesperson Michael Henning said: "Construction clients need money to finance their developments. …