Consultants’ workload increases further

Consulting-engineering practices are enjoying buoyant business, according to the latest state-of-business report from the Association for Consultancy & Engineering. 70% of member firms report growth in work during 2006, with over half seeing work grow by over 5%. This is a rise over 2005, when 60% of firms reported growth. Consultancy and engineering contribute 10% of the £100 billion annual turnover of the construction industry. Firms also report an increase in average utilisation rate, compared with last year, of 1% — to 78%. More than half the work won by those responding to the survey was repeat business. 11.5% of turnover is international, and firms expect international markets to expand over the next three years. The strongest performing sectors during 2006 have been private housing, roads, nuclear and rail. The nuclear market is expected to gain further momentum in 2007 and 2008. 75% of firms work in private housing, which accounts for 20% of consultancy and engineering output; it is the largest and most profitable sector. The least profitable sectors are private health, leisure and entertainment and public offices. Sectors of operation vary considerably with the size of firm. Those with a turnover greater than £10 million operate consistently across most sectors. The smaller firms tend to be concentrated in private-housing work and commercial developments. ACE represents over 800 member firms with over 45 000 staff. The ‘State of business report’ has been developed using the data of 121 firms which responded to a survey issued in June 2006. These firms represent over 10% of total consultancy and engineering turnover and employ over 14 000 people.
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