Civils trade body bemoans sixth consecutive drop in workloads

Workloads in Scotland’s civils sector have now fallen for a staggering six consecutive quarters leading to calls for more investment in the country’s infrastructure.

Civils trade body bemoans sixth consecutive drop in workloads

Grahame Barn

Trade body CECA Scotland warned that there is “little scope for optimism” after its latest Workload Trends Survey for Scotland also revealed that Scottish workloads continue to trail behind the rest of the UK.

At the same time, almost all contractors (93%) report rising costs and almost half (48%) cite issues recruiting workers with the right skills, again trailing the rest of the UK where skills shortages were found to be less of a challenge.

Following reports last month that almost half of all major infrastructure projects in Scotland have been delayed and with public sector work accounting for a significant chunk of Scottish civils work, contractors are calling for action from the Scottish Government to put in place a clear future infrastructure pipeline for Scotland and reform procurement to better support Scotland’s civils sector.

CECA Scotland chief executive, Grahame Barn, said: “These latest figures really need to be seen as a wake up call for the Scottish Government, although they will come as no surprise to our members. Investment in infrastructure is central to Scotland’s future economic success and while we welcome the creation of the Scottish Infrastructure Commission, we need action here and now if we are to ensure a sustainable future for the Scottish civils sector and avoid a skills drain down south.

“There is no doubt this is an extremely challenging time for our sector and that is especially the case for contractors working on public sector infrastructure projects. The current procurement model is broken and needs reform now. We are hopeful that Scottish Ministers are now mindful of this and we are in the early stages of discussions to take reform forward.

“It’s time for a new approach to procurement for major infrastructure projects - one that better reflects the shape of industry here in Scotland and that ensures a sustainable future for Scottish based civil engineering contractors.”

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