Despite tough economic times confidence levels of consulting engineers have improved according to Consulting Engineers South Africa’s (CESA) Bi-annual Economic and Capacity Survey.
The results, for the period January to June 2017, indicate that there has been some improvement with the net satisfaction rate to 96.3% in the June 2017 survey from 87.5% in the last six months of 2016.
Political uncertainty influencing future levels
CESA CEO Chris Campbell says while expectations for the last six months of 2017 are still relatively positive, levels of optimism are waning for next year, particularly among larger and medium size firms.
“This is owing to issues pertaining to the political landscape amid revelations of state capture and allegations of corruption in key government entities. Our member firms mostly depend on these key client bodies being functional and in continuous pursuit of competent and professional consulting engineering services for infrastructure development to sustain their business operations and maintain a steady workforce of professional practitioners,” he adds.
He states that confidence levels among larger firms fell to below 50% this time next year, based on their outlook for business conditions in the next 12 months.
Medium size firms reported equally satisfactory levels for the first six months but also expect weaker conditions for next year. Smaller to micro firms currently reported the lowest confidence levels (averaging 73% for June 2017), with no real change expected in the next 12 months.
According to CESA unrealistic tendering fees remain a concern for members, while the extended time it takes in which to finalise a proposal is affecting profitability in the industry. Campbell states, “In this regard CESA continues to offer our services to government to procure and implement projects”.
The association also listed deteriorating quality of technical personnel, skills shortages, regulation issues and fraud and corruption as some of the biggest challenges faced by the industry.