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Glenigan economics director, Allan Wilén, commented: ‘The sharp 5.2 per cent fall in construction output during the second quarter is a stark illustration of the tough trading conditions currently facing the industry as cut backs in public sector investment over the last two years flow through to less work on site. Public sector projects will remain scarce during the near and medium term; government funding remains tight and Glengian has recorded a continued decline in the number of public sector projects in the development pipeline.

‘In contrast Glenigan has recorded an encouraging pick-up in the value of private housing, office and industrial projects starting on site during the first half of 2012. Furthermore the value of such schemes securing detailed planning approval has also strengthened and these sectors are poised to be important growth areas for the industry over the next 18 months. However, this growth is dependent upon a strengthening in investor and consumer confidence, both of which remain fragile. Renewed set-backs in the wider economy or financial markets could jeopardise the forecast private sector upturn.’

He added: ‘The improving outlook for the commercial sector should offer new opportunities for architectural practices as developers bring forward new projects and revisit previously shelved schemes. However, the decline in government funded projects will remain a drag on overall architectural workloads.’

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