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01Oct92 UK: WORKLOAD IN CONCRETE REPAIR SECTOR HOLDS UP WELL.

Workload in the concrete repair sector is holding up strongly despite the recession, according to industry experts.But the growing number of firms looking for a slice of the action is forcing down prices to suicidally low levels and some fear the quality of work is suffering as a result.The reason for the comparative strength of the sector is simple: in the current economic climate, more structures are being patched up rather than demolished and replaced.'In parts of the country, particularly the Midlands and eastern regions, there is a huge market,' said Jim Maker, acting chairman of the Concrete Repair Association.But although there is plenty of work around, there are plenty of people after it.Mr Maker said that firms with little experience of concrete repair - but who are desperate for work of any kind - are moving into the sector.Some clients seem to be disregarding quality guarantees and going for the lowest cost, he said.And that is beginning to bother the association more than the destructive effect on the market of the very low tender prices.'We must impress on contractors and consultants the importance of looking at the technical ability of the companies concerned before contracts are let and of making sure that specialists are used,' Mr Maker said.