‘Little scope for optimism’ as figures show further drop in civils workloads

Grahame Barn

NEW figures released by CECA Scotland have revealed that civils workloads north of the border have dropped for the sixth consecutive quarter.

The organisation’s latest Workload Trends Survey for Scotland, which has been published quarterly since 2005, also showed ‘little scope for optimism’, with workloads continuing to trail behind the rest of the UK.

93% of respondents reported rising costs, while 48% cited issues recruiting workers with the right skills.

Contractors are now calling for action from the Scottish Government to put in place a ‘clear future infrastructure pipeline’ and reform procurement to better support the civils sector.

Grahame Barn, CECA Scotland chief executive said, “These latest figures really need to be seen as a wake up call for the Scottish Government, although they will come as no surprise to our members. Investment in infrastructure is central to Scotland’s future economic success and while we welcome the creation of the Scottish Infrastructure Commission, we need action here and now if we are to ensure a sustainable future for the Scottish civils sector and avoid a skills drain down south.

“There is no doubt this is an extremely challenging time for our sector and that is especially the case for contractors working on public sector infrastructure projects. The current procurement model is broken and needs reform now. We are hopeful that Scottish Ministers are now mindful of this and we are in the early stages of discussions to take reform forward.

“It’s time for a new approach to procurement for major infrastructure projects – one that better reflects the shape of industry here in Scotland and that ensures a sustainable future for Scottish based civil engineering contractors.”