Our Guide To The Construction Industry In The UK

Our Guide To The Construction Industry In The UK

The construction industry in the United Kingdom refers to building, renovating, repair, and maintenance. The industry as a whole entails a wide range of activities, from planning to construction.

Construction in the UK not only supports economic growth but plays an important role in the environment around us. There are numerous sectors within the construction sector, from residential construction to commercial construction, to name a few.

Contractors, developers, and suppliers are key stakeholders, working together to ensure construction projects are completed correctly while safety and timeframes remain some of the top priorities.

As of 2024, there are many challenges that the industry is facing, from sustainability concerns to construction skills shortages; the industry needs to understand these upcoming challenges in the most detail and prepare to tackle them accordingly.

Construction offers a great opportunity for growth, having created job opportunities each year and continuing to boost the economy; as of the start of 2022, the UK construction industry had employed 2.69 million people.

However, as the industry continues to grow, a further 120,000 to 230,000 jobs could be created in the sector by 2030.

Market Size

In the upcoming years, the construction market in Great Britain is set to experience significant growth. With increasing commercial operations and building activities, there is no doubt that the UK construction industry is expected to flourish.

Although the market experienced a downturn back in 2020, due to the pandemic, it has since seen a strong and sturdy recovery. However, that’s not to ignore the tedious challenges that those operating within the industry have faced, too.

Inflation has proven to be a significant challenge for the industry, resulting in an increased cost of construction materials. Ultimately, this has resulted in many companies having to heighten their price range. Both public spending and overall infrastructure investment play a pivotal role in the demand for construction projects.

Commercial Construction

Commercial construction activity is on the rise. The commercial construction sector isn’t just solely driven by large-scale, high-net-worth projects; smaller projects have proven their part in the rise of commercial construction in the UK in recent years.

Although an often challenging sector, commercial construction undoubtedly plays a vital role in the UK economy. Helping urban areas develop, commercial construction is important when we require new builds or structures to make areas not only more livable but more visually impressive and welcoming.

The UK’s commercial construction industry is worth over £15 billion annually and is predicted to grow by almost 16% this year. Sustainability is a key commercial construction trend, as more companies are pushing to move away from using non-renewable resources.

This current trend shift encourages companies working in commercial construction to consider new materials while promoting more environmentally friendly techniques. Commercial construction’s impact on the economy is vast; with the construction sector contributing £117 billion to the UK economy, 6% of total economic output.

Infrastructure Projects

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) publishes an annual report every year. This report is done as part of the government’s commitment to transparency. This annual report essentially tracks the overall progress of major projects in the UK.

From Heathrow’s expansion to improvements to the Houses of Parliament, there have been several major infrastructure projects going on in the UK as of late. Growth is forecast to be modest and there is a need for an extra 251,500 construction workers by 2028, which is set to support more work opportunities while enhancing productivity.

Making the right decision concerning infrastructure projects can be difficult. Many have stated that more infrastructure project investment is needed to boost growth. From transportation to water supply, infrastructure projects are important.

Residential Construction

Residential construction in the UK involves developing and renovating houses, apartments, and a wide range of other residential properties. There’s a large demand for housing in the UK, predominantly due to the growing population and changes in general lifestyle preferences.

There will continue to be a need for new housing as the years progress, and it’s residential construction workers who will need to keep up with this demand. Public and private housing, along with the repair and maintenance of homes, made up over 45 percent of the construction output in the UK back in 2022.

With costs on the rise, it’s important to have access to affordable housing both now and in the future. The Affordable Homes Programme provides funding to support the development of affordable housing across England. Homes England has £7.39 billion of government funding to deliver up to 130,000 affordable homes outside of London by the end of March 2026.

UK Construction and the Economy

The construction industry has helped drive economic growth in the UK for a long time. Construction not only stimulates economic activity but provides UK residents with employment while generating income for businesses across the country.

The construction sector alone has created 2.4 million jobs, which is 7% of the UK total. Investing in new housing and commercial developments supports the growing economy. Total construction output is projected to grow by just 0.3% in 2024 before picking up the pace to 2.8% towards 2025.

Innovation in Construction

Advancements in technology have meant the construction industry has experienced a wave of innovation, driven by the need for efficiency. Many practices have contributed to the transformation of the construction industry; technology has begun to enhance numerous construction operations, not only in the UK but worldwide.

Building Information Modelling (BIM), allows both architects and construction professionals to create digital representations of buildings while encouraging collaborative work.

It enables different parties to share vital design, construction, and maintenance information in a streamlined and efficient way as opposed to using more dated methods.

Although we’ve already witnessed more technology being introduced into construction practices, it’s expected to increase in the coming years. Adopting such technologies, whether it be BIM or 3D printing, is becoming more common, offering an array of benefits.

By using such advanced technologies, a collaboration between parties who are involved in projects can share and discuss important information in real-time. Balfour Beatty was the first construction company in the UK to use an automated cone-laying machine.

A new technology that was first rolled out by Balfour Beatty – the automated cone-laying machine – helped to reduce any potential risks associated with cone laying across various highway operations up and down the country.

Although cone laying is essential in helping alert passing traffic about maintenance works, it also comes with some huge risks.

Having been the cause of numerous incidents, there was an industry push to combat the number of accidents that occur every year; utilising the FALCON ACLM automated cone-laying machine means operatives don’t have to spend as much time on road networks.

The Future of the Construction Industry

The global construction market is forecast to grow by over 70% by 2025. The construction market in the UK has a wide range of opportunities available in the remainder of 2024, for both investors and businesses.

Whether it be concerning sustainable construction initiatives or more housing developments, new opportunities are arising for investors and businesses alike in the future.

The Skill Shortage

There’s been a major decline in apprentices entering the construction industry, which has led to a significant skills shortage. Being able to effectively identify skill shortages within the construction industry is vital.

Shortages in specific trades can be detrimental to the industry; resulting in an ageing workforce, lack of apprenticeship interest, and fewer training programmes.

One of the most common ways for workers to start in construction is through apprenticeship schemes. However, the biggest deterrent regarding apprenticeships for potential employers was the lack of governmental support (36%).

Skilled tradespeople are also in short supply, as fewer individuals are displaying interest in learning about the trade, with older, more experienced workers just managing to cope with the already high demand.

As we embrace digitisation, a growing need for more technological skills has become prominent. Courses should be encouraged for those either working in construction or wanting to begin working in the industry. Such courses will help ensure workers are able to tackle technological practices.

Industry Training

To promptly address the skill gap and attract new talent, the government should continue investing in programmes, encouraging both potential and current construction workers to learn new skills or practices.

These important courses and programmes are vital in helping to build a strong workforce to work on projects now and in the future. Numerous training programmes and initiatives are available to help address the skill shortage that the industry is currently experiencing.

Although there’s been a decline in construction apprenticeships in recent years, there are relevant programmes still available up and down the UK. The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) have a range of courses, both online and in person.

Their courses cover key topics, from health and safety, to overall management and leadership. Additionally,the CITB offer funding and grants to support various day-to-day training.

Hiring Within The Construction Industry

Hiring within the construction industry can be tedious, especially if you’re new to the industry and need to find reliable and hard-working employees, whether it be for office or site work.

At Strategic Resourcing, we understand the importance of being able to find new employees who are both skilled and dedicated to their trade in the simplest way possible.

We offer an innovative platform that allows you to connect with professional construction recruitment experts, who can connect you with the very best talent in the built environment sector.

Our software streamlines the process of connecting you with potential employees; it provides a space for you to advertise your job openings to a wider audience of diverse construction workers.

Having helped construction companies from all over the UK, you can trust our platform to help build your dream workforce. To find out more, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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