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Industrial and infrastructure construction still shrinking

Construction growth areas are in private commercial and housing, as well as public housing. Sectors which are still shrinking are private industrial and infrastructure, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

Any recovery in the building industry is hesitant, with difficulties in securing credit one of the main factors.

A survey by the group has shown that in the first quarter of 2010 some sector workloads “turned positive” for the first time since the recession began.

The building industry normally makes up around 6% of UK output but the severity of the downturn in construction orders has hit the whole economy significantly.

Around 5% of surveyors told the institution business was growing, particularly in the south of the UK, compared with a minus 12% rate in the last quarter of 2009. The small positivity in the first three months of this year contradicts the negative rates seen in the past seven quarters in a row.

Evidence gathered by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply also reflects the same trends. Any overall recovery is, at best, uneven because tight credit conditions are preventing projects from getting off the ground.

Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: “Concerns over likely cuts in public sector capital spending programmes is another factor contributing towards the cautious stance of respondents to the survey.”

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