Following Brexit and the election of Donald Trump across the Atlantic, the construction industry has had to battle some strong headwinds. To find out how business leaders within the industry feel about the months and years ahead, SCC Design Build organised for a survey to be carried out to ask them their opinions on issues affecting the construction industry.
Over 11,000 leaders from main contractors, architects and housebuilders were polled in the major industry survey.
SCC Design Build is an industry-leading supplier of pre-cast concrete solutions for multiple projects.
When asked how confident they were about the construction industry going forward, most participants stated that they were ‘cautious’, rather than ‘confident’ or ‘not at all confident’. Similarly, 47% did not believe the construction industry would grow in the next 18 months (against 53% that think it will). Whilst reserved, these responses suggest that many are hopeful about the stability of their sector.
41% of participants also believed that Brexit negotiations would have the biggest impact on their business in the next five years and questions focussed on employee growth and skills highlighted specific concerns about the impact of our departure from the EU.
At present, around 8% of the construction industry’s workforce comes from EU countries and over the next few years, many of these workers could leave the country. This would dramatically reduce the sector’s talent pools.
In SCC Design Build’s survey, this problem is reflected: 56% of respondents believed that the number of employees in their business would stay the same in 2018, and 41% stated that it was very difficult to find workers with relevant skills.
But 37% said they have no problem accessing the skills they required to grow and develop their business.
Nevertheless, the overarchingly positive outlook was reiterated in responses to questions about turnover and growth.
Indeed, 43% of business owners expect their turnover to increase and 81% believe that new build housing (over public sector and government-funded infrastructure projects, for example) will provide them with the biggest opportunity for expansion.
However, respondents did state they expect commercial projects (such as hotels and schools) to remain steady going forward and 51% said they would like the government to spend more on major infrastructure projects like HS2, to boost the economy.
Jim Durkan, Commercial Director of SCC Design Build, comments on the survey’s findings: “The results of this questionnaire have improved our understanding of industry confidence levels and of the expectations of business leaders across the country.
“Naturally, there is still an element of uncertainty surrounding Brexit though. For the construction industry, this has manifested in widespread concern about the availability of employees.
“However, the responses we collected show that whilst directors are cautious about the future, they are by no means pessimistic.”
In recent years, SCC Design Build has cultivated a reputation for producing bespoke pre-cast concrete solutions for high-profile projects, including the Holbeck Urban Village development in Leeds and the ground-breaking Pomona Island site in Manchester, and boasts incredibly fast lead times on their products.
The company is based in Stockport on a 10.7-acre site and boasts a 157,000 sq ft high bay industrial workshop.
For more information on SCC Design Build or on architectural concrete please visit www.sccdbltd.co.uk or call 0161 432 7700