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Rics reveals construction confidence improvement

Data compiled by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors' (Rics) has revealed an upturn in the level of confidence surrounding the UK's construction sector at the start of 2013.

The organisation's latest quarterly survey of chartered surveyors revealed a 15 per cent increase in the number of individuals who expect a growth in output over the coming 12 months, while figures for the last three months of 2012 showed signs that activity is already starting to pick up.

It builds on figures from Q3 2012, which revealed a 2.5 per cent reduction on construction sector activity in comparison to the same period in the previous year.

"After a truly dreadful year, if one believes the official data, there are signs that 2013 will bring some better news for the construction sector," Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said in a statement.

"Most notably, the numerous measures that the government has introduced with a focus on infrastructure appear to be bearing some fruit."

However, the news from this latest report was not all positive, as 89 per cent of respondents claimed financial constraints are holding back a sustained recovery, while insufficient demand is also holding up the sector.

Profit margins continue to be eroded for developers in the present economic climate also, as the competitive nature of the industry means firms are having to undercut their competitors - placing their own profits in jeopardy - in order to secure the biggest deals.

Last October, the Bank of England's Ben Broadbent stated his belief that the UK construction sector will undergo a significant recovery in the coming months.

He told attendees of a seminar at the Lancaster University Management School that contraction in spending by UK builders is now coming to an end and this will help stimulate growth within the industry in the months and years to come. 

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