Private sector drives growth across UK building sector

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published its Construction Market Survey for the final quarter of 2013, in which it highlighted an ongoing revival within the nation's building sector.

According to the report, the private sector continued to drive growth across the country during the last three months, with house building levels increasing in all regions.

This upturn in activity has presented a number of problems for the industry, however, including skills shortages which are now becoming more apparent as workloads increase. Overall, 36 per cent of respondents stated labour shortages are holding back the industry from achieving its full potential.

Indeed, a lack of qualified individuals is being witnessed across all trades, but bricklayers in particular are proving scarce, especially given the growing demand from the burgeoning housing sector. Industry is now reporting the highest levels of skills shortages since mid-2006, the survey revealed.

Developers in the public infrastructure sector are proving to be extremely busy at present, with a net balance of growth of 24 per cent recorded in RICS' latest figures - the fastest level of expansion recorded in the last seven years. Meanwhile, workloads are not only being shown to be rising at a national level, but a stronger regional picture is also emerging.

Looking forward to the coming year, 74 per cent of chartered surveyors stated their belief that 2014 will see workloads continue to increase rather than decrease, while employment levels and developer profits are also forecast to rise in line with this upturn across the industry.

Alan Muse, RICS Director of Built Environment Professional Groups, commented: "More homes are being built, infrastructure is being upgraded and each part of the UK is benefiting from this more positive picture.

"However, with recent estimates stating that over 230,000 new homes need to be built just to keep up with population growth, further initiatives from the government will be necessary to get close to this target."

If you would like to contact Antony Oliver about this, or any other story, please email