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Firms upbeat despite static market

THE UK foundations market continues to stagnate, according to the latest report from Market & Business Development (MBD). It projects the value of work in 2004 will have risen by only 2%, about the rate of inflation, to £496.7M.

The report anticipates the piling market to show the same 2% climb as the overall foundations market. This rise to £319.9M by the end of 2004 follows a significant increase of 17% from 2000 to 2002 and a subsequent drop in 2003.

But Bachy Soletanche sales and marketing manager Chris Thomas disagreed the market would be staying level.'In terms of overall trend year on year I would think we have more growth than [MBD] indicates in certain areas.'

He added: 'We've been watching tendering activity in London and the south east and it seems to be going up. Also, [MBD's] trend doesn't seem to take Crossrail into account. If this goes ahead there will be more growth across the board.'

The report says the small bore piling market made another estimated 2% rise this year taking the sector to £147.5M. This means it is still the largest slice of the UK piling market accounting for 46% in 2004.

Although annual growth levels for the UK foundations market are forecast not to exceed 2% between 2004 and 2009, the market is predicted to grow by 6% in real terms, reaching £525M at 2004 prices.

Increases in the civil engineering sector are expected to be moderate with overall rises stimulated by growth in public and private housing as well as the private commercial sector.

l The UK Foundations Market Development report is available from MBD priced £550 for an individual report, or £660 for an annual subscription of four reports. Contact MBD, tel: 0161 247 8600.

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