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Survey highlights

Construction output in the third quarter of 2004 was 1 per cent higher than the previous quarter and 2 per cent higher than the third quarter of 2003.

Construction output is forecast to increase by 2.1 per cent this year, by 1.7 per cent in 2006 and by 2.9 per cent in 2007.

Skilled labour costs have risen by 4.8 per cent over the past three months and by 13 per cent since March 2004.

Materials prices rose by 0.8 per cent in the past three months and by 6.4 per cent over the year from March 2004.

Structural steel prices actually fell by 1.8 per cent in the past three months, but rose 25 per cent in the year.

Reinforcement prices rose by 0.8 per cent in the past three months and 35 per cent in the year.

The private commercial sector will start to pick up, with an increase of 6 per cent in 2005 and 5 per cent in both 2006 and 2007.

Infrastructure output is expected to fall by 6 per cent in 2005, before recovering to show increases of 2 per cent in 2006 and 6 per cent in 2007.

Further investment in health and education will boost public non-housing sector output - up by 7 per cent in 2005, slowing to 2 per cent in 2006 and 2007.

Tender prices are forecast to rise nationally by 3.8 per cent over the next year and by 3.4 per cent over the year to the first quarter of 2007.

Tender prices in London are set to rise 4.7 per cent over the next year and by 4.5 per cent over the following year.

Civils tender prices are due to rise by 4.4 per cent over the next year, with a further 4.6 per cent rise over the year to the first quarter of 2007.

The underlying rate of retail price inflation is expected to run at 1.8 per cent in 2005 and 1.9 per cent in 2006.

Economic growth in the UK is expected to rise by 2.5 per cent in 2005 and by 2.4 per cent in 2006.

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