Construction product manufacturers ended 2014 with continued sales growth, according to the latest State of Trade Survey from the CPA.

The survey predicted a further increase in sales for 2015, with optimism among the sector extending beyond the domestic market and into overseas exports, said the Construction Products Association (CPA).

The vast majority of lightside firms (87%) said sales rose during the fourth quarter of 2014, with a lower 44% of heavyside firms reporting the same. Sixty-one percent of heavyside companies, and 60% of lightside manufacturers, anticipate sales will continue to rise over the coming year.

A third of both heavyside and lightside firms (33%) reported that costs rose in Quarter 4 of 2014, compared with a year earlier.

Unsurprisingly considering the falling cost of oil, fuel costs fell for 61% of heavyside firms, and 20% of lightside firms, to the lowest balance recorded in the survey.

CPA economist Rebecca Larkin said: "The latest survey results reflect the fact that the recovery in construction is broadening from private housing to commercial, industrial and infrastructure. Growth in sales of construction products was reported by both heavyside and lightside manufacturers, suggesting increased activity at all stages of the building process. Sales growth in Q4 was also supported by favourable exchange rate conditions, which helped drive external demand from outside the Eurozone. Furthermore, against this backdrop, more than half of heavy and light side manufacturers anticipate exports will continue to rise over the next 12 months.

“Firms also increased their headcount in the year to Q4 in response to these higher sales and reflecting the positive outlook going forward. Hiring intentions for the coming 12 months remain strong: 61% of heavyside firms and 40% of lightside firms plan to increase employment in 2015."