The latest workload trends survey from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) shows that most firms were busier in the first quarter of 2021 than they were in the Q1 2020, immediately before the first national lockdown.

There was a 29 point gap between CECA members who said they were busier this year and the percentage who said they were less busy – the highest in six years.

There is widespread expectation of a busy year ahead, with a 47 point gap between those expecting workloads to increase and those thinking they have peaked already.

These positive indicators of recovery are offset by the growing number of firms who cited issues with the supply of materials and –

 rising costs.

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CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “There has been a strong recovery in construction since the collapse in activity precipitated by start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March of last year, which is to be welcomed as we seek to recover from the economic impact of the crisis.

“This has fuelled global demand for construction products and materials, along with supply issues. For instance, our members tell us that the annual inflation rate for timber and fabricated steelwork have risen to an eleven year high this year.

“With increased demand and a healthy pipeline of work in key construction sectors, supply and demand imbalances are likely to continue.

“That why we are calling on the UK government and all industry stakeholders to continue to work together to ensure the construction-led recovery is not held back by an insufficient supply of materials, and to carefully monitor and meet the ongoing needs of the sector as we build back better from the coronavirus pandemic.”

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