Builders' workloads across the UK have started to increase for the first time since the economic downturn began, according to the Federation of Master Builders' (FMB) State of Trade Survey.
The survey of member firms shows the net balance for workloads, expected workloads and enquiries in the second quarter of 2013 was positive across most of the UK for the first time since 2007. However, Scotland fared less well and a negative net balance of -26 was recorded, showing that conditions had worsened for SME builders during the three months to June.
FMB chief executive, Brian Berry, said: 'After one of the toughest and most sustained economic downturns since the Second World War, it is encouraging to see conditions may be easing for Britain's beleaguered builders. It is a testament to the resilience, work ethic and professionalism of SME builders, many of whom have had to cut their cloth accordingly and eat into their profits to maintain staffing and capacity in the hope that a better day would come.'
He continued: 'While these figures are a sign that the worst may finally be behind us, the building trade has a long way to go to get back to pre-2008 levels of employment and output, and there are many hurdles still to overcome. We must not be complacent, as consumer confidence is fragile at best.'