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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2012 Vol 2 No 9
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Construction New Orders Indicate Continuing Industry Contraction

Figures of construction new orders for the third quarter of 2012, which have been released today by ONS, are 7 per cent lower than the same quarter of 2011 and 5 per cent lower over the first three quarters of this year, when compared to the same period last year.

Although Q3 has seen some improvement against the second quarter in 2012, the overall level of construction new orders remains very poor, indicating continuing challenging conditions for construction in 2013.

Commenting on the ONS figures, Milja Keijonen, Senior Economist at the Construction Products Association said; "Our intelligence of the trading conditions the industry is experiencing, has indicated a difficult market and these figures from ONS certainly endorse this position.

However, there are some brighter areas, as both infrastructure and private industrial construction new orders are showing double digit increases of 46 and 24 per cent respectively for the first nine months of this year, compared to the same period last year.

"‘It would be very encouraging if this percentage growth was repeated across all sectors, but the figures for these two sectors are not unexpected and the overall figure of orders for all new work is negative.

"Commercial and private housing, that accounted for 36% of total construction output in 2011, saw orders decline both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year in the third quarter.

New orders for commercial work, the largest construction sector, were 18% lower in the first nine months of 2012 compared with the same period in 2011, whilst private housing saw orders decline by 7% from a year earlier."

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Moves to channel capital spending into infrastructure

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) today welcomed reports that Chancellor George Osborne will use tomorrow’s Autumn Statement to announce measures that will unlock £5 billion to spend on capital projects to kick-start growth in the economy.

It is anticipated that most government departments will be asked to save an extra 1% in 2013 and an extra 2% in 2014, and the Chancellor will use this money to fund new infrastructure schemes as the most cost-effective means of achieving growth.

Commenting, CECA director of external affairs Alasdair Reisner said: "CECA has argued for months that there is a pressing need to unlock capital to fund infrastructure projects as a sure-fire way to return the economy to sustainable growth.

"This year, the UK has emerged from the longest double-dip recession since the Second World War, and the infrastructure sector continues to struggle. If CECA members are to play their part in rebalancing the economy and providing infrastructure fit for 21st century Britain, it is of paramount importance that inadequate funding in the sector is addressed.

"The measures that the Chancellor is expected to announce tomorrow are a step in the right direction. Spending on infrastructure not only provides an immediate economic boost in terms of jobs and growth, but lays the foundation for a successful future.

If the UK is to emerge from years of economic uncertainty, it is vital that the country’s infrastructure is fit to meet the needs of tomorrow’s economy."

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