Building firms are booming, says FMB
SMALL and medium Scottish construction workloads rose faster than at any time since the 2007 financial crisis, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Scotland has said.
Key results from the FMB’s State of Trade Survey for the first quarter of 2017, which is the largest quarterly assessment of the UK-wide SME construction sector, include:
■ Scottish construction SME workloads rose faster than at any time since Q4 2007;
■ One in two construction SMEs predict rising workloads in the coming months, with just five per cent predicting a decrease in activity;
■ However, 85 per cent of builders believe that material prices will rise in the next three months;
■ 58 per cent of firms are struggling to hire carpenters, the highest reported level since the financial crisis.
Gordon Nelson, firector of FMB Scotland, said: ‘Scottish construction SME workloads have now risen for five consecutive quarters and, rather than tapering off in advance of Article 50 being served, that growth seems to have accelerated in the first quarter of this year. At a time of growing concern about the strength of the Scottish economy, the robustness of the construction SME sector is a definite good news story. Even more encouragingly, the number of inquiries for future work has risen solidly and one in two firms are now predicting that their workloads will continue to rise in the coming months.’
Mr Nelson continued: ‘This is not to say that the past three months have been without their challenges. Builders have experienced sharp rises in material prices since the depreciation of sterling in June last year and the subsequent spike in the cost of imported materials and products.
‘Added to this is the rising cost of skilled labour which continues to be exacerbated by the ever-worsening skills shortage. The overwhelming majority of builders expect these trends to continue, resulting in further increases in output prices in the next quarter – in layman’s terms, this means that builders will have to pass on these costs to the consumer.’