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Construction sector strong, say latest surveys

The construction industry enjoyed record results in 2007 and is expecting strong performance in 2008 despite economic uncertainty, according to two newly released trend surveys.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association said that nearly two thirds of respondents to its trends survey reported a rise in workload over the past year and that order books were the strongest to have been recorded in the 11 year history of the CECA survey.

Railway infrastructure, water and sewerage works performed particularly strongly. On the downside the 54 per cent of respondents reporting rising costs is 16 per cent higher than last year.

"The signs of a revival in work on motorways and trunk roads are especially welcome after a five year slump, and we hope they will be confirmed in our next survey in April," said CECA chairman Peter Andrew.

The rosy picture is corroborated by the newly released Construction Confederation and Construction Products Association Trade Survey Report that reported further rises in output reported in the last quarter of 2007.

Though the survey reported weaker growth in the last quarter of 2007 suggesting that tougher credit conditions are kicking in it still predicted a "buoyant" 2008 particularly in public sector health, education and infrastructure.

Construction Confederation chief executive Stephen Ratcliffe said: "Contractors retain a healthy amount of optimism and we have to make sure that we don't talk ourselves into a recession when the evidence shows the industry remains busy and buoyant."

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