Scottish Building Federation hails ‘solid’ construction figures



Generic Lovell housing imageOutput in the construction industry has been estimated to have increased by 7.4 per cent last year when compared to 2013, according to the latest figures.

Data for the fourth quarter of last year from the Office for National Statistics revealed that all work types recorded increases except infrastructure, public other new work and private commercial work. The largest increase was reported by total new housing, increasing by 23 per cent in 2014 compared with 2013.

On the year, the picture was one of continued growth, with output in the construction industry increasing by 5.5 per cent in December 2014 compared with December 2013. This was the nineteenth consecutive period of year-on-year monthly growth.

The Scottish Building Federation (SBF) said the figures point towards “solid growth” for the industry.

Managing director Vaughan Hart said: “2014 was a good year for the UK construction sector with total output increasing by 7.4 per cent to stand at £121.3 billion. Full-year figures aren’t available yet for Scotland but the first three quarters of last year show solid growth across nearly all sectors.

“There was particularly significant growth in infrastructure, helped in large part by good progress on the new Forth Crossing. There are encouraging signs of recovery in housebuilding as well.

“Our members will take heart from these latest results. The main focus now is on recruitment into the industry. To sustain this positive momentum through 2015, rebuilding skills and capacity will be absolutely crucial.”

A 6 per cent fall in repair and maintenance activity saw construction output as a whole slip by 2 per cent during the period.

After October and November delivered small falls in growth, December bounced back with a 3 per cent rise in new work output.

Across the sectors infrastructure recorded a 3.6 per cent rise against the previous quarter at the end of the year, commercial work edged up 0.8 per cent and public building work also edged up 1.5 per cent.

There were further signs of an end of year slowing in house building with both private and public housing output slipping 0.2 per cent.

Managing director of Kier Construction’s Scotland & north-east England business, Brian McQuade, was also encouraged by the industry growth evidenced within today’s report.

He said: “It’s been a very encouraging start to 2015 and it’s great to see the confidence, optimism and growth that exists within Kier being replicated nationally.

“New business wins, framework appointments and contract completions ensure that we are in a position to maintain a healthy order book. We are currently recruiting and maintaining our rigorous policy of employing local people to work on local contracts, wherever possible. Creating jobs, and ensuring that local people are directly involved in the construction of valuable amenities in their area, such as schools, care homes, hospitals and community centres, is a policy that works for us and one that we will maintain for the foreseeable future.”

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building & Renewals, added: “Once again the steady growth evidenced in today’s report confirms the optimism which is currently being felt throughout the construction sector in Scotland, and within my own company, Cruden.

“The buoyancy and confidence that we are experiencing has been replicated by house buyers with recent statistics confirming a 3.1 per cent jump in house sales during the last quarter of 2014, and a 3.4 per cent upswing in house prices during the same period.

“That’s a positive way to kick off 2015, is great news for the sector as a whole, and very encouraging news for both for house builders and buyers.”



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