Following years in the doldrums, with a number of high-profile casualties, is the future of the construction industry beginning to look more positive?
There are certainly some hopeful signs – last month, the IHS Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index for January recorded a score of 48.4, a boost from December’s score of 44.4, while confidence appears to be rising across the industry.
Much of the confidence is being attributed to a more stable political landscape; Boris Johnson’s landslide general election victory has soothed many business leaders’ fears over Labour proposals to renationalise some industries and exert more state control over the economy. On top of this, Johnson has also been able to push ahead with plans for Brexit, taking Britain out of the EU in January and finally putting an end to the uncertainty surrounding the issue since the 2016 referendum result.
Johnson has made some big promises that will have a major impact on the construction industry – a £100bn National Infrastructure Strategy, along with tackling the housing crisis, building schools and hospitals and improving the safety of existing buildings.
However, while there may be a number of positive developments on the cards, it is worth bearing another aspect of Brexit in mind; the workforce.
Mark Reynolds, CEO of Mace, is just one of those to warn of the potential impact, saying: “We must recognise that how we leave the EU and the resulting changes to our migration system will shape the demographic of our workforce for decades to come, and so it will be important for the sector as a whole to monitor the process and speak with a single voice to ensure our unique challenges are recognised.”
This is a prime opportunity to invest in long-term training programs aimed at encouraging more people to enter the industry, something we would definitely support.
At Mobile Mini, we’ve been working with the sector since our inception, giving us a unique insight into the highs, lows and demands of life on a construction site – as well as the challenges surrounding skills shortages in the industry.
We understand the huge range of on-site facilities needed during building projects and can provide offices, canteens, drying rooms, toilet blocks and storage facilities in a variety of sizes and layouts, to fit the client’s exact requirements.
Most importantly, in a rapidly-changing market, we understand the need for speed; that’s why our standard turnaround time from the day the order was received is two working days for a single standard storage container, five for a single standard accommodation unit.
Whatever the new decade may hold – and while optimism abounds, it’s worth bearing in mind that we have not yet seen the full impact of Brexit – we’ll be ready to support building Britain’s future.