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Scotland saw a 9% fall in underlying project starts in 2015, following a 6% drop in 2014. We initially expected a bounce-back in confidence and activity expected after the 2014 independence referendum, but this is yet to materialise.

However overall workloads remain strong due to some major civil engineering projects currently under construction. These include the new Forth Road Bridge and the Aberdeen Peripheral Route. Indeed Scotland accounted for 40% of the rise in UK infrastructure output between the first half of 2014 and first half of 2015.

Though starts have fallen back in the last two years, Scotland has now seen four consecutive years of approvals rising year on year. We expect activity to accelerate significantly over the coming months. Greater economic certainty should support strong growth in the nation in 2016 and 2017, even if the commercial sector is less buoyant than it was a couple of years ago.

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