Despite wider economic uncertainity, firms in the region said they were expecting to welcome additional projects in the coming months, with infrastructure, rail, energy and communications anticipated to yield the strongest growth.
Data for the second quarter of the year from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in its Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey showed 21 per cent more respondents in the region’s construction sector reported an increase in construction workloads.
Workloads on infrastructure projects grew the fastest along with work on private commercial developments, with 14 per cent of respondents seeing an increase in commercial activity.
More than 42 per cent of the region’s construction professionals reported a rise in workloads on private housing during Q2, whilst more than one in five saw an increase in work on public housing developments in Q2. There was also a modest growth in activity for industrial projects.
Looking to the year ahead, 40 per cent of construction professionals in Yorkshire and Humber expect to see their workloads increase over the coming year.
One in five anticipate taking on extra headcount over the next 12-months, but the on-going skills shortages are proving a constraint on employment and activity (46% of respondents highlighted a lack of quantity surveyors.
RICS Senior Economist, Jeffrey Matsu, says: “Three years on and the long, unrelenting shadow of Brexit uncertainty is testing the mettle of the construction industry. After a prolonged period of delays and underinvestment, businesses now appear to be fed up and are proceeding cautiously with new hiring and intentions to invest.
Barry Smith MRICS of M A Cost Consulting Ltd in Sheffield said: “Profit margins are being squeezed and costs are moving quickly, meaning some tenderers are worried about catching a cold by pricing too low. Nervousness from overseas investors regarding Brexit is affecting scheme progression and site purchases too.”
“While much of this is likely to be backfilling or maintaining existing capacity, the requirements of larger projects such as HS2 are constraining growth opportunities elsewhere. With the range of possible outcomes related to Brexit as wide as ever, we expect to see continued volatility in the construction output data but in the meanwhile foresee workload activity stabilising.”