The latest State of Trade Survey by the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) reveals that confidence continues to grow in the construction industry.

The research shows that construction SMEs are optimistic about their workloads, employment levels, and enquiries, with 50% of businesses surveyed expecting higher levels of work in the next three months.

In Q1 of this year, total employment went up by 7 percentage points to +11, with 21% of construction firms reporting a rise in staffing levels.

Brian Berry, FMB chief executive, said: ‘The first three months of 2017 proved to be very positive for construction SMEs, which reported strong growth, underpinned by continuing resilience in the home improvement sector. Workloads rose in every part of the UK, with particularly positive results in the devolved nations. Given the concerns that wider consumer confidence might be weakening, it’s encouraging that smaller construction firms aren’t sensing any drop-off in demand for their services.’

However, with 85% of businesses expecting material costs to increase and a struggle to source specialised tradespeople (such as carpenters and bricklayers), it’s clear to see that there are challenges ahead for businesses.

Construction SMEs can build on this confidence and deal with these challenges by ensuring their business processes work together smoothly. Construction accounting software, which can manage the full construction and contracting lifecycle, is ideal for firms who want to carry out work more efficiently.

Find out more about FMB’s State of Trade Survey here.