The private housing sector is driving a construction industry revival, according to the RICS Construction Market Survey for Q1, although skills shortages still threaten recovery.
The survey revealed the fastest rate of growth in workloads since the Construction Market survey began in 1994, with improvement being driven by the private sector and potentially by the commercial housing sector over the next 12 months. The effects are expected to be felt across the whole of the UK, rather than being exclusive to the London and South East hotspots.
However, the feel-good factor is being tempered by a further increase in reported skills shortages across many trades and in most parts of the country. Furthermore, 41% of respondents believe there are insufficient numbers of quantity surveyors currently available to meet rising supply demands.
Despite this, the continuing recovery in output in the sector will see further job gains, with respondents forecasting a 3% year-on-year growth in the employment footprint.
Alan Muse, RICS director of built environment, said: “Clearly what we are seeing as the recovery takes shape, is the impact of skills shortages in parts of the country where companies failed to invest in attracting new talent, or in the training of existing employees at the height of the economic downturn.
“Now that the industry is experiencing an upturn in workload that is broadening out across the whole of the UK, it must ensure it has the capability to capitalise on these opportunities.”