RICS Survey on Singapore construction market

Respondents to the RICS Construction and Infrastructure Survey indicated that conditions in Singapore have been fairly subdued in Q2 of 2019.

Private workloads were said to have declined, albeit at a slower pace than the previous quarter, while work on public projects was said to have increased.

Chart 1: Current workloads

Although overall work on infrastructure projects was said to have increased, it did so at a slower pace than in Q1. The slowdown appeared to be particularly acute for work on road, rail and airports, though nearly every segment of the market reported a decline.

Chart 2: Infrastructure workloads

The pipeline of new activity was little changed from Q1, and new workloads were said to have declined (albeit modestly). Firms were also seen to have trimmed headcount in the second quarter. Meanwhile, the cost of materials continued to rise, and margin deterioration persisted.

A majority of respondents cited competition, the cost of materials, financial constraints, a lack of demand and labour and skills shortages as holding back activity.

Chart 4: Factors holding back activity

There was said to be a shortage of BIM managers, quantity surveyors and skilled tradesmen in the market.


Chart 5: Skills shortages

Despite multiple headwinds, respondents appeared to be more optimistic that conditions would begin to improve over the next year. Workloads, buoyed by infrastructure, are expected to increase, with a modest improvement in margins.

Chart 3: 12-month expectations

The RICS’ Asia-Pacific and Middle East Construction and Infrastructure Survey is a quarterly guide to the trends in the construction and infrastructure markets. Survey questionnaires were sent out on 10 June 2019 with responses received until 7 July 2019. Respondents were asked to compare conditions over the latest three months with the previous three months as well as their views as to the outlook. A total of 1312 company responses were received globally. — Construction+ Online