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Brexit Uncertainty Takes its Toll on Welsh Construction Activity

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Brexit uncertainty is taking its toll on the Welsh construction sector, with workloads flatlining in the final quarter of 2018, according to figures from the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Construction & Infrastructure Market Survey.

There was strong growth in housing building – both public and private – according to respondents, however, activity in all other sectors was reported to have fallen.

A decrease in infrastructure workloads was reported for the first time since Q2 2016. Steep falls were also seen in the private industrial sub-sector and in ‘other public works’.

Despite the slowdown in overall workloads, however, respondents in Wales do continue to report skills shortages, with 80 percent citing shortages of quantity surveyors, reflecting the ongoing strong performance in house building and demand for skills in this area.

Neil Brierley, RICS Construction Spokesman in Wales, and Regional Managing Director at Currie & Brown says:

“House-building activity remains the key bright spot in the construction sector in terms of activity. Rising workloads are evident across both public and private house-building which is a positive in relation to efforts to boost the supply of homes. However, we need to see strong growth in infrastructure activity as well to create a more balanced and competitive economy for the long-term.”

The main findings of the survey for Wales are as follows:

  • Respondents (a net balance of -2%) pointed to workloads being broadly flat in Q4 2018
  • The net balance for public housing was +29%, indicating that workloads in this area rose
  • A net balance of +31% of respondents said that private housing workloads rose
  • The net balance for ‘other public works’ activity was -31%, suggesting that workloads in this sub-sector fell in the quarter
  • The net balance for private industrial activity was -42%, indicating that workloads in this area fell markedly
  • Infrastructure workloads were down according to a net balance of -33% of respondents
  • Private commercial activity also fell in the quarter according to a net balance of respondents (-8%)

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