A rise in housebuilding helped boost the Welsh construction sector in the final quarter of 2017, according to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ (RICS) Construction & Infrastructure Market Survey.
Overall construction workloads in Wales were up in the fourth quarter of the year, according to a net balance of 18%.
An increase in housebuilding in both the public and private sectors was reported to have contributed to the rise, with private industrial and private commercial workloads also picking up in the three-month period, according to surveyors.
But infrastructure activity, which includes areas such as energy infrastructure, roads, rail, water and sewerage, and communications, was reported to be flat in the quarter.
Commenting, Neil Brierley, RICS Construction spokesman for Wales and head of operations at Faithful+Gould, says:
“The rise in private industrial and private commercial activity reflects the buoyancy of the industrial property sector and the need for more space, as well ongoing office and mixed-use development in Cardiff.
“The increase in house-building activity is also a positive in relation to efforts to boost the supply of homes.
“However, we need to see more infrastructure activity as well to create a more competitive economy for the long-term.”
With the overall increase in workloads, respondents in Wales also saw an increase in skills shortages, according to the survey.
83% reported shortages of quantity surveyors, whilst 75% reported shortages of other construction professionals. This was an increase from the previous quarter.
Respondents though are relatively upbeat about future prospects. A net balance of 64% of respondents expect their workloads to be higher in 12 months’ time – above all other UK regions – whilst a net balance of 36% expect to hire more staff.
Other key findings from the Wales survey include a net balance of +18% of respondents saying that workloads rose in the quarter; a net balance of +11% for public housing, indicating that workloads rose; a net balance of +17% of respondents saying that private housing workloads rose.
Private industrial activity was up 20% and private commercial activity was up 50%, indicating that workloads rose, while infrastructure workloads and ‘other public works’ were flat.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement