Infrastructure-led recovery fuels optimism within Scotland’s civils sector
New research has revealed that optimism in Scotland’s civil engineering sector has reached a six-year high but warnings remain that a shortage of materials could hamper its recovery from the pandemic.
The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said that while infrastructure stands ready to deliver a jobs-led recovery from the crisis, shortages of key building materials driven by rising demand could limit the extent of the recovery if cost pressures continue to hit contractors.
Results from CECA’s quarterly workload trends survey show that a quarter of Scottish firms reported a rise in workloads over the past year and 47% of contractors expect this trend to continue over the next 12 months, the highest levels of confidence in six years.
The outlook for employment is also bright with around half of Scottish firms expecting to recruit more operatives and staff over the next year.
The latest GDP figures from the Scottish Government confirmed that the construction industry is now operating at pre-pandemic levels with total output estimated to have increased by 5.7% in the latest quarter.
CECA Scotland’s chief executive, Grahame Barn, said: “Construction has been one of the few sectors which has been able to operate throughout most of the pandemic but there is no hiding the fact that additional cost pressures have taken their toll on contractors. After a tough year, it’s very welcome to see the signs of green shoots ahead as we begin to emerge from the crisis.
“Investment in infrastructure is the surest way of putting Scotland on track to a jobs-led recovery and build back better to meet our economic, social and climate priorities.
“We’re also hearing from our member organisations that the recent upsurge in costs for key building materials like concrete and steel are a particular cause for concern. We must not let the recovery be put at risk so it’s vital that government works together with industry to monitor the impact on growth.”