Construction Industry

UK Construction Intelligence Report

2019 is looking like another challenging year for the construction industry in the UK, with only a slight improvement on 2018’s performance. Total new work is forecast to grow by 0.9%, which is just below forecast GDP growth at 1.2%. Repairs and maintenance is expected to grow by a similar amount.

Emerging themes for 2019 and beyond

There is much change in our industry, and we have drawn out some themes we believe are important in 2019 and beyond.

Skills & labour shortages

Labour shortages are prevalent in both professional services and construction skills. This is not a new issue but is exacerbated by the uncertainty in freedom of movement for EU resources. Scarcity of labour with the ongoing demand means costs are rising. Greater effort is being made to attract people into the industry but there is a lag as people are trained and learn the skills required.

Data driven construction intelligence

Data analytics is playing an ever-more important role in construction. The digitisation of systems, processes and tools means data is easily collected and integrated. Emerging technologies to leverage that data will enable innovation and disruption in the industry. Those consultants, designers and contractors not investing in this area risk being left behind in what increasingly seems like a race to innovate and disrupt traditional approaches.

Digital transformation and leveraging technology

The construction industry is going through a digital revolution. Perhaps slower than some other industries, but it is happening. The new technology emerging improves all aspect of the industry whether asset management (EAM & IoT), design (BIM, VR, AR), surveying (drones, handheld tech), PPM (management & collaboration systems, benchmarking, prediction), construction (off-site & on-site controls & techniques).

Modern Methods of Construction

Modern methods of construction, in particular of-site construction, modular buildings & factory fabrication are growing significantly. This is enabled by digital technology and growing investment and capacity in off-site construction. Contractors are embracing this and bringing pre-fabrication in-house as they invest in their own central modular construction and pre-fabrication facilities.

Construction insolvencies

Despite an increase in new orders and higher overall employment figures, the industry has not yet recovered from the Carillion shock of last year. Other large contractors are in trouble. The number of construction insolvencies has not abated, with the number of insolvent firms doubling since 2016.