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New figures from the latest Construction Trade Survey reveal that activity in the UK’s construction sector has risen for the seventh consecutive month. The strength of the recovery has been centred on private housing, infrastructure, commercial developments and public non-housing projects such as education and health.

The survey, carried out by the Construction Products Association, collates data from construction companies, engineering contractors and building products suppliers to produce a detailed quarterly report on the state of the construction industry. Other key findings in this report, which covered the final quarter of 2014, include:

22% of contractors had problems in recruiting on-site trades, down from 31% in Q3 2014.
70% of companies had difficulties finding bricklayers, up from 41% in the previous quarter.
53% of contractors stated that private housing output increased in Q4.
68% of firms revealed that raw material costs had increased in Q4 relative to the previous quarter.
57% of firms said that labour costs had risen in Q4, relative to Q3.
Half of construction product manufacturers expect more than a 5% growth in sales this year, with a further 20% expecting a more modest increase.

Economics director at CPA, Noble Francis, commented on the rising costs faced by construction companies. ‘Only product manufacturers felt the effects of falling oil prices in Q4.  Contractors, SMEs and civil engineers continued to report elevated costs, which implies any gains from a wider slowdown in inflation are yet to filter down the supply chain.’

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