There has been a sharp decline in workloads, enquiries, and employment, amongst small building companies with 40% of FMB builders reporting a decrease in the number of work enquiries according to the latest State of Trade Survey from the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
The good news is that the repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) sector continues to remain buoyant with most FMB members reporting increased workloads.
For members in Northern Ireland there were particular factors affecting the market:
Northern Ireland market conditions
Gavin McGuire Director of FMB in NI said: “The RMI sector remains fairly strong this quarter however enquiries and workload pipeline seems to have been quieter in this last quarter. The tightening of the economic climate with increased interest rates does seem to be affecting confidence to proceed with work.
McGuire continued: “House building continues to struggle with more members reporting less workloads than there are reporting more. The planning offices of district councils are reporting a significant drop in the last quarter in applications which is a concern in terms of pipeline of new homes.
McGuire concluded: “The survey has also highlighted continued pressure on bottom lines, with members putting up prices to accommodate for economic adversity and with inflation holding this is a trend that may continue. Without a functioning Executive and Ministers to lead departments, decisions around investment and future planning appear to also have a detrimental affect on public confidence.
The latest survey for Q3 2023 found across the UK:
Impact of changes in prices and costs
The FMB State of Trade Survey, which is released quarterly, is the longest running survey of its kind to track the experience of small to medium-sized (SME) construction firms in the UK.