The total civil engineering workload for contractors is up by 30% on this time last year, according to a survey released by the Civil Engineering Contractors' Association (CECA) today.
CECA asked its members to report on their state of trade for the past 12 months.Just over half reported an increase in total workload over the past 12 months and fewer than a quarter reported a fall, resulting in a 30% rise on average. Reported workloads in the survey were at their highest level since September 1998.This has fuelled expectations among contractors that their workloads will continue to rise at a record level, with CECA members on average forecasting a 60% increase in work over the next 12 months.Looking behind the results for all contractors across Great Britain as a whole, however, there are still some areas in which results from the CECA survey suggest that trends are flat or downwards. There are still negative results for the change over the past year in road construction, improvement and maintenance works, on both strategic and local roads.It is also still principally large contractors that are benefiting from the upwards trend in workload, although there are indications of improvement of the trend among small contractors.The situation of medium-sized contractors remains relatively unsatisfactory according to CECA, but they, along with both large and small firms, are confident of rising trends in the coming 12 months.Results for England continue to be stronger than those for Scotland and Wales, but there are some welcome early signs of recovery in the results for Scotland, and contractors there are among the most optimistic in their expectations for the coming year.CECA Chairman Peter Andrews said: 'For our industry as a whole the trends in total workload and employment are clearly upwards, and are expected to remain so in the coming year.'Our survey findings warn us, however, that there are risks to be faced. Labour markets are that bit tighter than they were last autumn, and cost pressures are that bit more severe. We must work closely with our clients to ensure that we all make the best possible use of the labour and other resources that are available to everyone engaged in the business of civilengineering.'