Infrastructure slowdown to hit construction sector for 12 months

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The number of infrastructure construction projects in Scotland has fallen despite Scottish Government attempts to boost investment and growth, a new report has warned.

Infrastructure workloads across Scotland dropped during the three months to June and “little movement” has been seen in the sector since the end of 2008, the latest RICS Construction Market Survey said.

In Scotland, 22 per cent more companies reported falls rather than rises in workloads across the industry. Public sector projects were under the most pressure, despite government plans to invest a further £100 million in “shovel-ready” infra-structure projects and bodies like the Scottish Futures Trust overseeing investment in public buildings and low-cost housing.

RICS said that profit expectations across Scotland continue to deteriorate, reflecting the continuing pressure on margins. Surveyors noted that increasing competition is leading some companies to bid for work at below cost price in order to secure contracts.

The amount of work declined in Scotland, the north of England and Northern Ireland, but the south, Wales and the Midlands saw overall workloads stabilise, RICS said. Surveyors in Scotland are predicting a further decline in construction workloads over the coming 12 months, it added.

Sarah Speirs, RICS director of Scotland, said: “More action to back up the rhetoric is urgently needed if the construction industry is to play a meaningful role in driving the economy.”