A third of the Building & Engineering Services Association’s (B&ES) members who participated in the latest state of trade survey have experienced an increase in turnover during the second half of 2014.

The survey, which covers the period from June to December 2014, revealed that a net of +34% of members experienced increased turnover in the last six months, while +21% employed more people over the same period and +39% expect to employ more people in the coming six months. Regionally, the percentage of respondents who felt more optimistic about their future prospects ranged from +28% in London and the South East to +80% in Wales.

However, there are indications of a modest slowdown approaching, as the rate of growth has since declined, while tender prices appear to have remained static and labour and material costs have continued to rise. This rise in costs, along with late payment, poor margins and skills shortages, were all cited as the principal factors adversely affecting business growth.

B&ES president Andy Sneyd (pictured) acknowledged that, while far from generating doom and gloom, these latest results paint a less bright picture than might have been expected.

“Certainly, anecdotal evidence provided by my fellow members in recent times has given the impression that the upturn in UK construction is rather more sustained than these figures suggest,” he said.

However, Mr Sneyd added that conditions are evidently improving – albeit at a slower rate than previously – and there remains every reason to believe that a robust recovery is on its way.