More than three-quarters of engineering services firms reported increased or steady turnover during the final quarter of 2016, according to the Building Engineering Business Survey, sponsored by Scolmore.

The survey is run in partnership with the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA), the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), and Scottish electrical trade body SELECT. It had 529 responses from across the building engineering services sector in January.

The survey reported that 61% of engineering services firms say their material costs increased during the final quarter of 2016. Over the same period, 39% said that labour costs had increased. Furthermore, 57% said that they were not being paid within 30 days for public sector work, in breach of legislation.

Steve Bratt, chief executive of the ECA, said: “These new survey findings show that the engineering services sector is powering forward, despite challenges from rising material and labour costs. Our sector is extremely resilient and technological advances are continually opening up new business opportunities.”

Businesses of all sizes had a strong final quarter, with over three-quarters of micro, small, medium and large businesses all seeing turnover rise or remain constant. Very large businesses (turnover over £20 million) had the strongest quarter, with over half reporting turnover increases.

The engineering services sector defined by the survey covers a broad range of work including electrical, mechanical, renewables, heating and ventilating, datacomms, and fire and security systems.