This year is set to be difficult for security fencing projects as the government's austerity measures start to take hold, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said.

January research from the Markit/Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) UK Construction PMI showed that construction activity contracted in December 2010 because of the heavy snowfall.

But according to the FMB's Brian Berry, while the bad weather played a part in reducing construction activity, it can't be said to be the "fundamental cause".

"The real underlying cause is the cuts in government expenditure as part of their attempts to reduce the budget deficit. We have already started to see the impact of those cuts on construction activity," he said.

While the major 2011 projects - like Crossrail, the new 118km London rail network - should not be ignored, capital expenditure for infrastructure developments has been cut and house building is down.

"We are only building about half the number of homes required to meet current demand," Mr Berry said.

Overall, from small to large contractors, 2011 is set to be "a very tough year overall for construction".ADNFCR-3337-ID-800327332-ADNFCR