RedRock Construction Industry Outlook – December 2018

Looking back at the industry in 2018

In this month’s blog we are taking the time to pause and reflect on what we have learned about the health and wellbeing of the construction industry this year.

Here are some of the key themes that we have seen in 2018:

The great British weather

Weather has been a real theme for the construction industry this year and it is interesting to note how meteorological factors can have a real impact on the health of the sector.

Lukewarm construction output figures at the start of the year were blamed on the ‘beast from the east’ inclement weather conditions which brought much of the nation to a halt and which seemed to cast a pall over construction activity in the first quarter.

In stark contrast our very hot summer had the opposite effect and when combined with the football feel-good factor of England’s performance in the world cup – the whole nation was feeling cheerful. Good weather was cited by industry commentators as giving the construction industry a boost – helping it to bounce back from a weaker start in the winter.

The ‘B’ word

It is impossible not to mention Brexit as this ongoing situation has the potential to affect all aspects of the construction industry. Along with most businesses, it is the current uncertainty that construction firms are finding it difficult to deal with as this makes it tricky to plan major projects.

Anecdotal feedback in all of the surveys and analysis that we have looked at this year has highlighted Brexit as having the potential to put a temporary or permanent halt on some projects going ahead.

It has been a ‘mixed picture’ – but we are still building houses!

‘Mixed’ has been the word when looking at activity across the industry this year. Despite often favourable construction output figures and ONS updates, industry watchers have been tentative when it comes to an optimistic outlook for the sector. Political uncertainty and up and down figures have left the industry feeling not entirely confident and although there have been generally positive figures for house building and repair and maintenance work, some infrastructure projects may have been delayed with political uncertainty still a factor.

What are we expecting for 2019?

We mentioned it earlier in this blog but we have to come back to Brexit. In the summer, Construction News cited a number of potential concerns related to Brexit including availability of materials, the possibility of more red tape and a threat to the funding of some construction projects. The reality is that we have no more answers on those points than we did then. Probably the highest profile impact is likely to be on our construction workforce as the industry is very dependent on migrant workers from the continent and despite the fact that we are still waiting for ‘the deal’ there is little doubt that movement of workers will be restricted.

This has the potential to increase the cost of projects and even to delay some from going ahead. The construction industry is on tenterhooks to see how Brexit plays out and what this means for the sector as a whole in 2019 and beyond.

The good news is that skilled contractors are likely to remain in great demand if availability of personnel is limited and here at RedRock Recruitment we have access to some of the best work opportunities and projects, plus we have the right skilled workers on our books to manage all requirements.

Finally, we would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year from all At RedRock Recruitment.