A survey of small- and medium-sized builders has revealed that their workloads have contracted for the 13th quarter in a row.

The Federation of Master Builders’ survey also shows that the number of general building firms reducing employment in the first three months of 2011 rose to 43%.

Some 90% of members expect materials costs to rise over the next six months, marking a two-and-a-half year high.

“If the government is serious about SMEs creating jobs and leading the recovery they need to do more to help the small building firms that provide jobs for everyone from labourers to architects,” said FMB director-general Richard Diment.