Britain’s construction sector enjoyed the strongest growth since the beginning of the year in August, putting further strain on already tight supplies of skilled workers and materials, according to the most recent Markit/CIPS UK construction PMI survey.

Commercial construction and home building grew strongly, buoyed by infrastructure spending and the continued rise in house prices.

However, the lack of skills within the sector, as well as pressures on building supplies, could significantly slow growth for the rest of the year. The news follows earlier reports of pay booms within the sector, as companies struggle to attract bricklayers and other skilled workers.

David Noble, group chief executive officer at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply, one of the groups behind the survey, said:

“The resurgence in construction has entrenched itself after a summer of blistering growth but builders should prepare for growing pains this autumn as the sector labours to recover lost capacity. An encouraging 15 months of sustained employment growth – the longest since 2006-2008 – is revealing a major skills shortage in the sector.”

The report’s main output index jumped from 62.4 in July to 64.0 in August, signalling the largest monthly rise in building activity since January and one of the largest since the survey began.

There are concerns that the growth of the sector, matched with the shortage in supplies, could push up inflationary pressures within the sector.

Bill Jacobus