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House-building drives Welsh construction sector growth

The number of homes being built in Wales grew firmly in the third quarter of the year, driving overall growth in construction activity, according to figures from the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) Construction & Infrastructure Market Survey.

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Surveyors reported falls in private industrial activity and in the other public works sub-sector, whilst infrastructure activity was reported to have edged up slightly.

Private house building workloads by contrast rose solidly, the survey suggests, with a net balance of +38 percent of respondents reporting increases in private house building activity.

Meanwhile the survey also points to solid growth in public housing (a net balance of +37 percent of respondents said workloads grew). Private commercial workloads also edged upwards.


Respondents in Wales also continued to report skills shortages, with 69 percent citing shortages of quantity surveyors, reflecting the ongoing strong performance in house building.

Neil Brierley, RICS Construction Spokesman in Wales, and Regional Managing Director at Currie & Brown says:

“House-building activity is the key bright spot in the construction sector in terms of activity. Rising workloads are evident across both public and private house-building which is a positive in relation to efforts to boost the supply of homes. Activity is also increasing in the private rented sector and build-to-rent markets. However, we need to see strong growth in infrastructure activity as well to create a more balanced and competitive economy for the long-term.”

“Skills shortages, particularly in relation to quantity surveyors, remain evident, most likely related to the ongoing good activity in house-building. This highlights the ongoing need to invest in developing the skills of the future and to encouraging more young people into surveying and into the construction sector as a whole,” he adds.

The main findings of the survey for Wales are as follows:

  • A net balance of +16% of respondents said that workloads rose in the quarter
  • The net balance for public housing was +37%, indicating that workloads in this area rose
  • A net balance of +38% of respondents said that private housing workloads rose
  • The net balance for ‘other public works’ activity was -7%, suggesting that workloads in this sub-sector fell in the quarter
  • The net balance for private industrial activity was -17%, indicating that workloads fell markedly
  • Infrastructure workloads were up according to a net balance of +10% of respondents
  • Private commercial activity was up in the quarter according to a net balance of +7% of surveyor