Scotland business

Scottish construction firms 'more optimistic'

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Scottish construction firms are more optimistic about the year ahead than they were in the autumn, according to a new survey.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) found expectations of growth strengthened in the last quarter, following a dip after the Brexit vote.

Growth was forecast for 2017 in workloads, employment and profit.

However, concerns were raised over skills shortages.

Rics' UK Construction Market Survey found workload growth expectations improved considerably in the fourth quarter, while 20% more survey respondents said they expected a rise in employment in 2017.

The survey found modest growth in the Scottish construction sector in the final three months of 2016, with 7% more respondents reporting increasing workloads.

The private industrial sector was seen to be driving growth, as 23% more respondents reported an increase.

Growth in private commercial and private housing also increased between September and December, but public non-housing works fell in the same period.

Respondents warned of skills shortages restricting growth, with half of those surveyed pointing to a lack of quantity surveyors.

'Rosier feedback'

Rics chief economist Simon Rubinsohn said: "The latest results suggest that the construction sector has shrugged off concerns about the effect of Brexit with key workload indicators remaining firm around the country.

"Indeed, feedback regarding the outlook over the next 12 months is now rosier than it was back in the autumn, with more building anticipated as 2017 unfolds.

"That said, there remains some unease about access to skilled labour in the emerging new world and financial constraints still remain a major challenge for many businesses.

"And significantly, we are being told that a shortage of quantity surveyors is impacting on the development process at the present time."

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