Scottish construction conference looks to build on signs of optimism

Tim Clarke of construction giant Balfour Beatty.
Tim Clarke of construction giant Balfour Beatty.
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A QUARTER of Scottish construction businesses expect to grow over the next year despite the economic downturn, providing a rare ray of sunshine for a battered sector of the economy.

However, firms continue to struggle to raise finance and gain access to public procurement processes, according to the first annual Construction Scotland industry survey.

The report by the industry advisory group also found broad support for collaboration between companies, with 38 per cent saying they thought their business would be more competitive if they worked with others.

The poll’s findings are being used to develop a new strategy for Scotland’s construction industry, which will be launched at a conference next week in Glasgow.

It is estimated that the sector supports some 31,000 businesses employing 170,000 people and is worth about £21 billion annually to the Scottish economy.

The survey’s publication coincided yesterday with the appointment of Tim Clarke, a divisional head of Balfour Beatty Construction, as chairman of the new Construction Scotland industry leadership group.

He said: “It’s no secret that the industry has been badly affected by the economic downturn over the years, but building on our key strengths and working together with the public and private sector partners, academia and industry representatives, we will realise our full potential and make an even bigger impact on the Scottish economy.”

He added: “Feedback from this survey has been beneficial during our strategy development process.”

A joint conference between Construction Scotland and building standards body BRE Scotland is due to be held at the Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow on Monday, setting out development plans for 2013-16.