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Construction workloads 'growing at fastest rate since 1994'

Workloads in the construction sector have increased at their fastest rate since 1994, with private housing making a significant contribution to the expansion.The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) revealed 46 per cent more surveyors reported a rise in activity - up from a net balance of 41 per cent in August and the eighth consecutive quarterly rise.Workloads reached a series high in the private commercial sector, with a net balance of 59 per cent more surveyors reporting an increase in activity.Robust growth was also witnessed in the private housing sector, especially in London and the south-east.There was more balanced growth in infrastructure, as 27 per cent more surveyors saw activity levels rise. A shortage of labour was found to be the most significant factor limiting building activity, followed by access to finance and a shortage of materials.Some 71 per cent of respondents said the demand for bricklayers is now an issue (compared to 59 per cent in the second quarter of 2014). Planning and regulation factors were the fourth-highest limiting factors, cited as such by a net balance of 51 per cent of those surveyed.Nevertheless, levels of optimism about future growth remain high, with 47 per cent more surveyors expecting to see a rise in profits, rather than a fall, and 58 per cent more respondents planning to boost their staff levels in response to the rising workloads.Alan Muse, director of built environments at RICS, said: "Unprecedented housing demand, the bounce back from a very deep recession and the government's commitment to invest £36 billion in over 200 infrastructure projects is driving much-needed confidence across the industry, translating into UK workload sentiment now standing at its highest level in two decades."He added that RICS recommends formulating a national infrastructure delivery plan and enforced local planning to ensure progress is made on housebuilding and infrastructure projects. 

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