Despite the decline, the survey also found signs of optimism in the market with surveyors predicting growing workloads over the next 12 months, alongside hopes for employment levels in the building sector.
There is no doubt that trading conditions remain very challenging across the construction sector, however I believe there remains an underlying sense of optimism within the industry that there will be a moderate in-year increase in activity during 2014.
Funding remains a challenge for the industry, with recent figures published by the Bankof England figures last week showing that net lending to companies slumped by £4.8 billion in the three months to February, declining by £2.8 billion in February alone.
If we are to see the anticipated recovery over the course of the year there is a clear need for the financial institutions to be more supportive. There remain opportunities for alternative funding vehicles to enter the market, and plug the void that is currently being left by the banks.
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