THE building industry is heading towards a “nose dive” with workloads now falling for the 15th consecutive quarter, according to a survey today.
The state of trade survey from the Federation of Master Builders for the third quarter of 2011 reveals that workloads among small and medium-sized building firms have now been falling since 2008 and that one in three builders expect construction workloads to fall during the final three months of this year.
Richard Diment, director-general of the FMB, said the Government had to be mindful that the building industry “is in a dire state with little hope in the immediate future that things are going to get better”.
He said: “It is hard to think of another period in living memory when the building industry has been so badly hit by an economic crisis. The Chancellor needs to understand that a recovery in the construction sector is essential if it is to deliver economic growth in the wider economy.”
Mr Diment said that 44% of FMB members reported falling levels of enquiries and the number expecting to increase employment had now fallen to just 16%.
He said this was depressing news for young people wanting an apprenticeship or a job in the construction sector.
The rising cost of materials was also a serious concern to builders with 88% expecting them to increase over the next six months.
Said Mr Diment: “The Government’s home energy efficiency improvement programme, the Green Deal, which will be launched next year offers a glimmer of hope. But without a reduced rate of VAT to help boost consumer demand it is difficult to see any real upturn in building work.
“A targeted reduced rate of VAT in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement would create tens of thousands of much needed jobs in the building industry as well as stimulating more job creation in the wider economy.”