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5 MAY 2021
The Global Construction monitors are a sentiment indicator of the construction and infrastructure markets in the UK, Europe, Asia Pacific, North America, Middle East and Africa.
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Global construction activity continued to rise across all sectors in the first quarter of 2022, however the pace of growth eased slightly as a record number of respondents cited increasing material costs. At a regional level, the Q1 Construction Activity Index improved across North America and the Middle East and Africa, but eased in Asia Pacific and Europe. Infrastructure remains the sector with the strongest growth outlook, with North America displaying an especially strong anticipated increase in activity over the next year.
Alongside inflationary pressures, which are exacerbated by geopolitical events this quarter, the availability of materials is cited as a challenge by 71% of respondents, with financial constraints and skills shortages also mentioned.
Headcounts are anticipated to rise across the vast majority of nations tracked by the monitor, with the United States and Saudi Arabia being the frontrunners for employment growth expectations.
Key insights from regions covered in this quarter’s report include:
North America: Sentiment continues to improve across the region with the United States and Canada reporting a Construction Activity Index strengthening at a faster pace than the headline global index. There are positive trends across all sectors, with infrastructure remaining the most upbeat. Three quarters of respondents in the United States and Canada identified a shortage of skilled labour as a critical issue, but there is a strong conviction that headcounts will be able to increase over the next year to support planned developments.
UK: Workloads continue to grow strongly across most parts of the construction industry, particularly in the infrastructure sector which continues to see increases rather than decreases in workloads, despite ongoing challenges around securing sufficient supply of key building materials as well as the retention of skilled staff.
Asia Pacific: Whilst the headline Construction Activity Index for the region remains marginally positive, there is a divergent country-level picture. Activity has accelerated in India, remained firm in Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and Singapore, and softened in China, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. The monitor shows a resilient infrastructure sector across the region, anticipated to continue increasing, but a high proportion of respondents (66%) signal lack of demand as an issue.
Middle East and Africa: Construction activity continues to gain momentum, with forward looking indicators consistent with further solid growth over the next year. Saudi Arabia continues to exhibit the strongest Construction Activity Index readings. There is optimism for workloads and strong growth anticipated in the private residential sector, with Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the UEA all displaying especially firm expectations around the housing sector.
Europe: Sentiment in Europe remains in positive territory, but the monitor reports the most moderate figures since Q1 2021. Whilst there is a varied country-level picture, geopolitical events have increased uncertainty and exacerbated existing pressure on the cost and supply of materials. Romania, Italy and Spain have seen a noticeable loss of momentum, with the Construction Activity Index edging up slightly in Switzerland, Germany and France. Solid readings continue in the quarter for the Netherlands and the UK, with the private residential sector continuing to display the strongest expectations for workloads over the coming twelve months.
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