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Variable results for hard service providers

04 June 2018

Decreasing turnover was reported by 28% of companies responding to a joint industry survey of hard service providers for the first quarter of this year.

This was attributed to a number of issues, including late payment practices and the adverse weather conditions at the start of the year.

A total of 60% of respondents said they had received payment more than 30 days after completing commercial operations, while 34% said the weather conditions at the start of the year had impact on their turnover.

On a more positive note, 86% said they expected business turnover to increase or remain in the same in the second quarter of this yea, compared to the first quarter.

The survey was conducted by industry associations BESA, ECA, SELECT and SNIPEF, with collective membership turnover of around £12bn.

Continuing uncertainty in the market for hard service providers was highlighted by ECA deputy director of business policy and practice Rob Driscoll, who said awaiting the Grenfell enquiry, the failure of Carillion and ongoing Brexit discussions had all made an impact.

"But despite higher operational costs and ongoing issues surrounding protracted payment, our sector has historically proven its resilience and has a positive outlook as demand is expected to increase during the second quarter," said Mr Driscoll.

SNIPEF chief executive Fiona Hodgson said that the adverse weather had created more work for some, but others had experienced a slow down due to site closures, combined with rising costs of materials and labour and a shortage of qualified operatives in some areas.

"These factors, together with poor payment practices and a squeeze on profit margins mean that while there is hope that the volume of work is beginning to increase it is a precarious and uncertain time for many businesses," she said.


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