New statistics released today show that order books for civil engineering firms fell in the first quarter of 2017, the first such fall in four years.
The data from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) Workload Trends Survey found that on balance 9% of firms reported decreasing order books and only 5% expected orders to increase over the next year. Growth in work has also fallen from 11% to 8%.
CECA director of external affairs Marie-Claude Hemming said: “These results are extremely concerning.
“They show that not only is the rate of growth in infrastructure workloads currently sluggish, but that order books have moved into the red, indicating that the sector is at real risk of stagnation.
“Unless action is taken, our sector runs the risk of falling into a recession at exactly the time that we need it to be driving growth in the economy.”
CECA called on all parties to commit to the projects outlined in the National Infrastructure Delivery Plan and also plan to boost investment.
The survey found that 41% of the respondents said that workloads had risen, but 33% of the respondents said workloads had fallen.
Preliminary works, gas and airports reported positive workload balances, with preliminary works leading the way with 37% of firms reporting an increase, followed by airports at 29%. However there was a slump of 54% in the number of firms reporting a decline in the communications workload. Roads was also hit with 22% of firms reporting a decrease.la