Friday, February 24, 2017
Optimism is high across the construction industry, as a whole, but particularly in the building engineering services sector after a strong finish to 2016 and a positive start to 2017.
Almost nine out of 10 respondents to BESA’s latest State of Trade Survey (86 %) said they expected their turnover to increase or stay the same in the first quarter of this year and 78% that their turnover increased or remained steady in the final quarter of last year.
The survey, which is carried out in partnership with the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the Scottish electrical trade body SELECT, showed that businesses of all sizes were holding up well, but that it was very large companies (with turnover over £20m) that were doing best; with over half seeing their turnover growing.
However, nearly 60% said their material costs had risen since the vote to leave the EU last June – mainly because of the impact on the value of the pound – and about four in 10 say their labour costs have also gone up.
Late payment continues to be a concern with more than 50% saying they are not being paid within 30 days for work completed for public sector clients, which is illegal.
However, the overall mood is optimistic and, with the wider economy also showing a resilient response to ‘Brexit’, the building engineering services community is in much better shape than most commentators were predicting last summer.
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