More than 80% of respondents in a survey conducted by Construction Enquirer and the Build Show reported a positive outlook for their business over the next 18 months.
In an encouraging set of results for the industry, the overwhelming majority of respondents felt that business would pick up somewhat over the coming months, with a further 16% expecting conditions to remain the same.
Only two per cent of the nearly 2,000 contractors, architects, housebuilders, developers, suppliers and plant hirers responding to the survey felt that business conditions are likely to worsen during this time period.
Of the challenges they do envision facing, the availability of skilled workers was identified as the biggest threat, with 44% of respondents highlighting this as an issue.
Just over 47% of the people surveyed thought that clearer routes into the construction industry were needed to tackle this challenge, with a greater emphasis on formal training and qualifications.
A further 28% pointed to the need for increased financial support for businesses in order to provide apprenticeships, while 24% of respondents suggested that a greater focus on hands-on training and work experience was needed.
Other threats identified over the coming months were concerns about the current upturn in the industry levelling off, with 39% of respondents citing this as a worry, while 11% of respondents pointed to the rising cost of construction materials as a problem.
Interestingly, only four per cent of respondents claimed that shortages of construction materials posed a significant challenge; with nearly 60% of respondents stating their business had not been affected by shortages and a further 37% reporting to have been only somewhat affected.
The results appear to suggest that the bulk of the supply chain problems experienced by some sectors of the industry last year may have now been resolved.
Build Show managing director Paul Godwin commented: “This is a really interesting set of results as they show that the positive outlook for the industry is certainly gaining hold but there are still some serious challenges that need to be addressed in order to continue this momentum. The supply chain appears to be ramping up to meet demand, but with skills shortages weighing heavily on contractors’ minds, it is clear that there is still some work to be done in developing a well-trained workforce to deliver increased construction levels.”