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Water orders flow

CIVIL ENGINEERING contractors are seeing workload growth slow, but tenders and order books grow, according to their trade association.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association's latest trends survey reports that 44% of its 200 members are seeing an increase in workload compared to a year ago, and 24% a fall - a balance of 20. This compares with a balance of 24 in March 1998 and 35 in September 1997.

But while workload growth is slowing, future prospects are looking brighter. In March the proportion of firms experiencing an increase in invitations to tender was -5.

It is now 6. Order book levels have risen from -4 to 10.

However, any signs of optimism are based almost solely on one sector - water and sewerage. Here the balance of firms reporting an increase in order books compared to the same time last year was 20. The only other positive balances were in rail (2) and building preparation work (1).

Elsewhere all was doom and gloom. The balance for local roads was -65, for national roads -64, for airports -27, for harbours and waterways -24, and for electricity and gas -19.

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