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Rises in Welsh House Building and Infrastructure Activity


A pick-up in infrastructure activity was the main bright spot in the Welsh construction sector during the third quarter of the year, according to figures from the latest RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Construction & Infrastructure Market Survey.

Overall construction workloads in Wales were flat in the period, according to the survey, but respondents indicated that infrastructure activity – including things like energy infrastructure, roads, rail, water and sewerage, and communications –  increased during the quarter.

There was also a rise in private house building in Wales between July and September, according to surveyors, however the rate of growth moderated from the second quarter of the year.

Despite the overall flat picture in the industry, Welsh surveyors did continue to report shortages of key construction skills. 72% reported shortages of quantity surveyors, whilst 77% reported shortages of bricklayers.

Indeed, shortages of labour, alongside financial constraints, was identified by respondents as the biggest impediment to growth in the sector. Anecdotally, surveyors have also indicated that uncertainty in relation to Brexit is leading to a hesitancy in some quarters to invest.

Commenting, Neil Brierley, RICS Construction Spokesman for Wales, and Head of Operations at Faithful+Gould, says:

“Whilst the overall picture is flat, it is encouraging to see infrastructure and housing workloads rising, given the chronic housing shortage that Wales faces and the long-standing need to invest in our infrastructure. Skills though remain a concern for the sector, particularly in relation to quantity surveyors and some surveyors are indicating that this is holding back growth.”

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

A net balance of 0% of respondents said that workloads rose in the quarter, indicating that growth was flat in the quarter

The net balance for public housing was -7%, indicating that workloads fell marginally

A net balance of +14% of respondents said that private housing workloads rose

The net balance for ‘other public works’ activity was -7%

The net balance for private industrial activity was -23%, indicating that workloads fell

Infrastructure workloads rose according to a net balance of +33% of respondents

Private commercial activity was flat in the quarter according to the balance of surveyors


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