A lack of skilled staff is holding many sub-contractors back from realising the full benefits of the recovery in the construction sector, research has revealed.
One in five members polled by trade body the National Specialist Contractors Council said they were unable to bid for work due to skill shortages.
This was up from an average of just 6% over the past five years, during which the economic downturn has stifled the construction market.
Almost two-thirds of firms polled said supplier prices had risen in the second quarter of 2014.
However, demand for sub-contractors is firmly on the up.
An increase in orders was seen by 57% of poll respondents in the second quarter of this year; up from 27% just over a year ago.
The gap between the proportion reporting an increase and that reporting a decrease reached its highest level since 2000.
The recovery was expected to continue, with a record 72% expecting to see an increase in workload over the next year.
There was also a slight improvement in payment practices, with a record 16% of respondents saying they were paid in less than 30 days, on average.