Umbrella Company Employees contracting in the construction sector saw a significant hike in demand during the last quarter, new figures from the contractor accounting service NoPalaver Group reveal.
Despite an abysmal first quarter in 2013, during which the beleaguered sector’s output hit its lowest point since 2013, new house building projects appear to signal renewed optimism – and new contractor jobs. The number of individual contractors employed in construction leapt by 6,000 over the last three months, climbing from 269,000 to 275,000, the NoPalaver figures show.
NoPalaver’s director, Graham Jenner, said that workloads now appear to be “picking up significantly”; however, he warned that comparatively meagre lending to the sector by the banks meant there is “still a long way to go before the sector is firing on all cylinders.”
Noting the steep decline the sector had endured in Q1 and Q2, Mr Jenner said that the industry was “still very volatile” and urged the government to ensure it was doing all it could to prevent the recovery being confined only to residential house building. He added: “The number of individual contractors surged in London in 2011-12, as a large workforce was required to complete Olympic construction projects. Since then, we have seen a fall in big commercial projects, with major London projects like the Pinnacle put on ice and HS2. Outside of London we haven’t seen much large-scale commercial property construction activity being carried out at all, as there simply isn’t the demand.”
The residential construction sector, however, does appear to be consistently providing new opportunities for contractors despite fluctuation outputs elsewhere in the industry, especially since the government’s £3 billion capital investment for affordable housing.