Like everyone else, we’ve been worrying about what Brexit (hard, soft, or otherwise) means for our industry. In a trivial sense, construction (unlike, say, typewriter cleaning services) has a future as we will always need new buildings and to repurpose and repair existing buildings. However, in a time of turmoil it can be hard to guess what will happen next and how that will impact individual careers, companies and building projects. Here are a few key factors affecting our business and others.
Brexit will change everything, maybe
The UK construction industry currently employs numerous skilled and unskilled workers from around the EU. We also use materials, tools and parts from Europe. Whether Brexit is hard, soft or something else entirely will have a major impact on the construction industry. At the moment, it seems likely that Brexit will increase materials and labour costs, as well as making it harder to ensure British parts and materials meet EU standards and vice versa.
Uncertainty is bad for everyone
However you feel about the political arguments behind the referendum, it’s clear that the ongoing uncertainty is damaging UK businesses. Companies are already finding it harder to recruit EU migrants, causing skills gaps and increasing skills shortages. The ongoing uncertainty is particularly problematic for big and complex builds lasting multiple years as even materials costs may fluctuate wildly if the pound recovers or drops further. For smaller and domestic builds, the problems are much less pronounced.
More homes = more creativity
It’s well known that Britain is short of homes, and even restricting immigration isn’t going to change that. The good news is that both communities and individuals are considering more creative options for building housing. Over the next 10 years, we expect to see – and hope to be building – more creative housing solutions. From converted mills, lighthouses and factories to micro-homes in shipping containers and clever prefabs, we’ll need to find more ways to create fabulous family homes.
We don’t know what will have the most impact, but we expect that technology will change the way we build in major ways over the next decade. So far the IT revolution has mainly been felt on the logistics side – managing paperwork, payrolls and orders. We’re waiting with interest to see what the Uber or Airbnb of the construction world will be.
So is now a good time to build?
The pound has tanked and everything is expensive so starting a new project may seem daunting. However, it’s important to remember the reasons you’re considering a new build: if your family is growing out of their house; your school needs to expand to take more pupils; or your team is outgrowing their office or workshop; then those needs aren’t going to disappear. In both business and family life, overcrowding can be expensive, leading to more mistakes and errors. At Pure Construction, we’re ready to help you create the buildings you need for whatever the future brings.