Scotland business

Construction industry confidence 'falls back'

Builder on site

Confidence within Scottish construction has fallen back to levels last seen two years ago, a survey has found.

The Scottish Building Federation (SBF) said employers gave a positive overall confidence rating for the tenth quarter in a row.

However, having reached a record high in the second quarter of the year, industry confidence has now fallen back to where it was at the end of 2013.

Employers' concerns included the impact of a shortage of skills and labour.

In anticipation of next year's Holyrood elections, the latest Scottish Construction Monitor included questions about key policy areas affecting the construction sector.

The federation said the results showed "continued dissatisfaction" with procurement practices in terms of complexity and cost.

The survey also identified high levels of concern among members about the impact of rogue traders operating in the sector.

Views about the performance of Scotland's planning and building control authorities varied from a majority who were generally satisfied to a "significant" minority who were not.

More than 60 construction firms took part in the latest survey.

'Continued concerns'

SBF managing director Vaughan Hart said: "This latest confidence rating underlines continued concerns amongst employers about the long term sustainability of the revival in industry performance we are currently witnessing.

"As we have highlighted before, there are continuing concerns about the unbalanced performance of the industry at the current time and that, throughout 2015, industry employment rates have continued to lag significantly behind record levels of output.

"As we look ahead to next year's Scottish Parliament elections, there are a number of critical issues facing the construction industry which we are keen to see politicians across all parties get to grips with.

"Policy areas such as procurement, planning, capital investment and skills will all have a major influence on the industry's future.

"We look forward to debating these issues with candidates in the lead-up to the May elections and to exploring the solutions needed to support the industry over the lifetime of the next Scottish Parliament."

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