29/04/2003

Healthy outlook for building firms in year ahead

Figures announced in the Federation of Master Builders’ (FMB) State of Trade survey for the first quarter of 2003 indicate that the recent conflict in Iraq has had little or no effect on business for the UK’s small and medium sized building firms.

The survey shows that workloads are increasing, with strong expectations of continued improvements in both workload and employment in the second quarter and beyond. Despite fears about a possible dip in consumer confidence as a result of the Iraqi conflict, 41% of the builders surveyed reported an increase in workload in the first three months of 2003, 10% ahead of predictions for the quarter in the previous survey.

Looking forward, 78% of builders expect future workloads to grow or remain constant in the second quarter of 2003, with the greatest increases expected in domestic new build and domestic repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI).

Commenting on the figures, FMB director general Ian Davis said: “It appears that consumer confidence remains healthy, despite the situation in Iraq and the much-publicised fears of a slowdown in the property market.

"Builders tend to be cautious in predicting their future workload, so the fact that they are forecasting growth over the next six months is a good indicator of a buoyant market.”

(CL)

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