Whilst trading conditions in the specialist sector remain tough, there are early signs that things could be starting to improve according to the latest NSCC State of Trade Survey.
39 per cent of Specialist Contractors reported an increase in enquiries and 36 per cent an increase in orders in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Capacity levels have fallen with just 61 per cent of Specialist Contractors working at over 75 per cent capacity compared to 72 per cent in the previous quarter.
The majority of Specialist Contractors are still looking less than 3 months ahead and market demand, cost of materials and availability of labour and finance are cited as the most important factors affecting their plans.
The medium to long term outlook appears to be more encouraging with 56 per cent of Specialist Contractors anticipating an increase in workload and 44 per cent expecting their businesses to expand over the next 12 months.
Government investment will be crucial to kick-starting growth within the industry and the wider economy.
NSCC president Kevin Louch, who has been appointed to the Construction Industrial Strategy Advisory Council (CISAC) to help produce a strategy to drive innovation and growth within the industry, said: “The Government has recognised that construction has a direct impact on the UK economy and growth can only be realised with investment in new projects, innovation and skills. The new CISAC will engage with the supply chain to develop a vision for the industry to become world class. By doing so, it will create the opportunity to make the industry the career of choice for future generations.”