Two recent surveys have highlighted that there seems to be more confidence about when it comes to the future of the construction sector – perhaps a busier and brighter 2017 ahead than many of us thought back in January.
First of all, the recent Future Trends index shows architects are optimistic about future workloads, especially in Ireland, the Midlands and East Anglia, both in the short term and in the longer term. For the first time in over a year, all four main sectors; private housing, public sector, community and commercial, forecasted growth.
As a FMB member firm, Team Smallman was very interested to see that the largest quarterly assessment of the UK’s SME construction sector published last week by The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) reports that in Q1, small construction firms saw workloads continuing to rise and many businesses expect to get more work over the coming months and into the future. Looking at the three key indicators – workload enquiries and employment – FMB members have high expectations for Q2.
What seems to be the main concern, in common with many other sectors, is the rising cost of both labour and materials. Although only 20% of construction products and materials used in the UK are imported, the drop in sterling since last June’s Brexit result has meant that building materials prices have increased, putting continuing pressure on margins across the sector. And a common theme is difficulty recruiting – especially carpenters and brickies.
We’ve had a busy spring at Smallman & Son with a number of commercial building projects on the go, including completion of the new entrance and refurbished reception at Rainbows East Midlands’ Hospice in Loughborough.
Talking to our clients and to our industry colleagues locally – their outlook seems upbeat too. With Government plans for £300m for new transport and infrastructure projects in the East Midlands, there should be plenty of projects to keep us busy over the next parliament!
Smallman & Son was founded by Robert and Mark Smallman and provides building and refurbishment services nationwide to clients in both the private and public sectors, including British Gypsum, Serco, Farmer and Carlisle, the NHS, Uppingham and Loughborough Endowed Schools and the Ministry of Justice.