UK infrastructure workloads reach record low(5)

In a quarterly report the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors records the lowest infrastructure workload level since the report’s inception more than a decade ago, as finance constraints stifle the industry.

Infrastructure construction work in the UK has fallen to its lowest level for more than a decade, according to a report released today by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

In its RICS UK Construction Market Survey, Q1 2009 report, the representative body said that the “infrastructure sector saw an accelerated pace of decline, the fastest in the survey’s history.” The quarterly survey has been running since 1998.

According to the report, the number of surveyors reporting a fall in workloads was 34 percent more than those reporting an increase.

The report said: “Many respondents cited a lack of available finance and the delay in public sector projects as the main cause of pessimism for the current market.”

The RICS said that, overall, private commercial and industrial workloads had recorded the worst figures in terms of workloads, with net balances of -57 percent and-61 percent respectively.

However, it said that while construction workloads across the public and private sectors remained “in negative territory” for a fourth consecutive quarter with 45 percent more surveyors reporting a fall rather than a rise in overall workloads, this was up from a net balance of -47 percent, as areas such as housing saw an easing in the pace of the decline.

Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist, said: “Activity is still declining across the construction sector, but it appears to be doing so at a lesser rate than was previously the case and public sector projects will play a key role in any recovery as long as the finance is made available to prevent them from stalling.”