Demand for building services on the rise

September 3rd, 2015 Category: Local Authority & Housing

There has been a growth in the demand for building and construction services, new research has shown.

The Building & Engineering Services Association (B&ES) produced a report which showed that orders, enquiry and turnover levels all rose across the board during the past six months.

It revealed that 17 per cent of B&ES member firms took part in the seventh B&ES state-of-trade survey – up from 15 per cent last time.

The online survey was augmented by in-depth telephone interviews with 20 of the association’s top 60 members. 

Its latest state-of-trade survey, which covers the period from January to June this year, highlighted a positive “net optimism measure” of 45 per cent, up from 39 per cent six months ago.

Over half of those polled (53 per cent) saw a growth in order levels – compared with 47 per cent in the second half of 2014.

Commenting on the research findings, B&ES chief executive Paul McLaughlin said that the construction industry and the building engineering services sector continued to enjoy a sustained, if cautious recovery.

Mr McLaughlin said: "I am also pleased that firms are responding to the challenge posed by skills and labour shortages by stepping up their training activity so as to take full advantage of the commercial opportunities that are available to them.

“The optimism which is clearly spreading throughout the membership augurs well for our sector as a whole."

The report also showed that there was also an improvement in tender prices. Its data showed that more members reported a rise than had experienced a decline. In addition, the B&ES findings showed that labour and material costs were both seen to increase.

It found that 36 per cent of firms claimed to be employing more direct labour than six months ago, and 40 per cent expected workforce levels to increase during the remainder of 2015. 

Furthermore, there was also a rise in the number of members taking on apprentices and making use of agency personnel.

However, many enterprises still had a range of concerns that are helping to hold back growth at their organisations.

These include skills shortages, zero and ultra-low margins, over-long tender lists and the prevalence of late payment.