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vital statistics

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Britain's construction industry is in its healthiest state for ten years, says the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in its quarterly market survey. Output has increased for the eighth successive quarter, and respondents expect workload to continue growing.

The same report says that workload in the first quarter of this year showed growth in every region of the uk - the first time this has happened since 1989. The private commercial sector led the way, showing a 39 per cent increase over the year.

Half the firms questioned in the survey have had difficulty finding enough carpenters and plasterers, and four-fifths have had problems finding bricklayers. The rics attributes this in part to the loss of 500,000 building workers in the shakeout of the early 1990s.

One person per week is killed in an accident involving a ladder, according to statistics from Mintel. An average of 3500 per week are treated in hospital after diy repairs go wrong.

Maintenance costs rose more slowly than inflation during 1997, but will catch up this year, says the latest survey from Building Maintenance Information. It is predicting an overall increase of 4.2 per cent during 1998.

Credit card fraud rose 26 per cent last year, resulting in losses of £122 million.

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