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Construction industry is top UK performer

BOOMING CONSTRUCTION activity has led to the industry outperforming the rest of the UK economy, a report claimed last week.

The Construction Forecasting & Research (CFR) report predicts a 3.8% rise in workload following 3.5% last year. 'UK construction is enjoying its best sustained period of growth since the late 1980s. Last year's concerns that the 11 September attacks would damage confidence were overstated, ' said CFR managing director Alan Armitage.

Association of Consulting Engineers communications director Andy Walker added: 'In a recent economic outlook survey, over 60% of our members expected a 25% increase in turnover for this year.

'However, margins are still too tight and fees too low, which is something the industry needs to address as a whole.'

Construction Products Association economic director Allan Wilén said that growth over the next three years would be driven by an average increase in government investment in infrastructure of 7.5% per year.

'Although this is very positive, it's worth reiterating that we are still at the bottom of the EU public infrastructure investment table.'

Civil Engineering Contractors Association economic advisor Jim Turner believes that the results mask a north-south divide.

'The north east has endured three years of decline in infrastructure output with the north west and Scotland in a similar plight.

'If you look at a map of the Highways Agency's 53 major projects, the south east dominates while the north east is a desert, ' he said.

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