Tom Keighley

Member Article

North East construction levels down

Construction levels in the region have continued to be affected by economic uncertainty, industry research has shown.

According to the latest RICS Construction Market survey, the level of works in the North East fell during the third quarter.

Cutbacks in the Government’s capital spending programme, and a continued lack of finance for development projects have meant 14% more chartered surveyors reported a drop in workloads.

80% of surveyors responding to the survey cited economic uncertainty as the reason for this, and 63% highlighted a lack of finance.

Despite making continued quotes, many were not seeing the work materialise. Public sector workloads continued to show significant largest falls, a trend that was echoed nationally.

A 36% fall in public housing in the North East demonstrated the lowest level since Q4 2008.

RICS North East Construction Sector Spokesman Michael Henning, a Newcastle-based director at Summers Inman, said: “The current construction market is, to quote a local surveyor, ‘all over the place’ with a predominantly barren landscape dotted with some commercial, leisure and retail projects, generally on a smaller scale than previously experienced and often involving the adaptation of existing buildings rather than building new.

“The government’s announcement of a house-building fund to help kickstart ‘shovel ready’ schemes is a small ray of sunshine for the beleaguered social housing sector but such breaks in the cloud are few and far between.

“If any positives are to be taken from the current climate it is that those working across all parts of the development and construction process are working tirelessly to create opportunities and to ‘make things happen’.

“The industry and the region may be suffering more than most in these uncertain times, but one thing is certain; no region is working harder to battle the storm and look towards a brighter future.”

RICS Chief Economist Simon Rubinsohn added: “If the government is serious about putting development at the heart of the growth strategy, it needs to demonstrate this with new dynamic policies introduced as part of George Osborne’s economic statement next week.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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