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Watts Bulletin (issue 126)

Welcome to the first issue of the Watts Bulletin in 2011 and a Happy New Year to all our subscribers. So what does 2011 hold for the construction sector? In this issue we take a look at the likely revision of the EU directive on professional qualifications, which will impact on many working in construction, we report on plans to change the Building Regulations regime to make compliance simpler and cheaper and we detail Infrastructure UK’s recent report on the potential savings to be made in UK road and rail projects. We also take a look at new research from the chartered Institute of building (CIOB) revealing that construction clients are not knowledgeable enough about procurement – leading to time and cost overruns and poor quality projects. In the current climate this is a wasted opportunity for clients to gain best value from schemes at a time when they can ill afford to waste money. There is an opportunity here for construction advisers of all hues to drive efficiency gains and improve the reputation of the industry.

Watts Bulletin (issue 126)

No construction recovery until 2013, says CPA

The recovery in construction output experienced by the industry during 2010 will stall in 2011 according to the latest forecast from the Construction Products Association (CPA).


Industry output is expected to fall by 2% this year, with further declines in 2012 and no further growth until 2013. This is largely due to cuts in public sector funding which will mean construction work generated by the public sector falling by an estimated 17%. Although private sector work is expected to grow by 5%, this will have no overall impact on growth. Michael Ankers, chief executive of the CPA, said in December “The Government has rightly focused on the private sector playing a leading role in driving the UK’s economic recovery. Unfortunately we do not expect the increase in private sector investment in construction over the next two years to compensate for the sharp falls in public sector investment”. However, by 2013, the Association expects to see strong improvements in the commercial sector as government investment promised in housing, rail schemes and the development of energy infrastructure impacts on construction-related activity.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics back up the CPA’s findings, showing that construction grew by 3.9% in the last quarter, rather than the 4% that had been previously forecast. According to a report in Building magazine in December, economists are now questioning whether construction figures had been set at unrealistically high levels, as statistics this year showed the sector was “powering the rest of the economy out of recession”. National GDP growth has also been revised down, from 0.8% to 0.7% in the third quarter, from 1.2% to 1.1% in the second quarter, and from 0.4% to 0.3% in the first quarter.

For more information go to www.constructionproducts.org.uk

The Watts Bulletin is the technical companion to the Watts Pocket Handbook, the essential guide to property and construction, as used by professionals since 1983.

Watts Bulletin editor: Trevor Rushton.