More than half of UK contractors are expecting a growth in construction during 2016, as construction costs continue to rise, according to research from a leading trade body.
Build UK’s The State of Trade Survey, compiled in partnership with Glenigan, found that 52 per cent of Build UK members expect workloads to grow over the next 12 months.
Costs and labour supply remained the biggest worries for most builders, with 39 per cent of respondents reporting an increase in business costs and 43 per cent an increase in labour costs in the latest quarter.
In total, two thirds of contractors reported higher labour costs year-on-year.
Many contractors voiced additional concerns over recruitment difficulties, particularly with supervisory, managerial and technical staff.
53 per cent of those surveyed cited skills shortages as one of the main reasons for their recruitment difficulties, with 48 per cent reporting a lack of qualifications and 53 per cent a lack of required experience amongst their applicants overall.
However, this was an improvment on last year where companies reported that 62 per cent of applicants lacked the required skills and 54 per cent required more experience.
Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol said: “There continue to be mixed messages in terms of growth, however industry intelligence shows increasing levels of activity over the last quarter.
“Employers are experiencing both rising material and labour costs as they head towards maximum capacity and this continues to highlight difficulties in recruiting appropriate skills at all levels.”
Build UK was formed following the merger of the National Specialist Contractors Council and the UK Contractors Group in May 2015.
The organisation represents over 11,500 specialist contractors and some of the largest main contractors and trade associations across the country.