What does the future of construction hold? Comparing 2019's goals with 2020's

This piece highlights the negative impact the construction industry has faced throughout 2019 whilst looking at the promising future it has in 2020 onwards.

Over the past year, the construction industry in the UK has seen many ups and downs. Due to a plethora of contributing factors, most notably the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the industry has suffered. In June, we saw the worst month for growth in a decade. Despite this shock to the system, construction firms remain adamant that things will soon start to look up. Once Brexit has been finalised, the development of brand new projects will get underway. Looking forward, there are many exciting plans and goals that have already been laid out for 2020. 

Join cherry picker manufacturers, Nifty Lift, as we take a look at what the industry achieved in 2019, and what goals have been put in place for the upcoming years.

What did 2019 mean for the construction industry?
Despite taking a major hit from Brexit uncertainty, construction goals have still been achieved. However, while the unclear nature of Brexit has certainly led to low growth outputs, it has also created difficulty in terms of setting goals and planning for the future.

The output growth over the first quarter of 2019 was minimal. The sector only grew their output by 0.1 per cent. There was also a 1.9 percent decline in new orders in the year's final quarter. After this resounding slump, construction firms hope for a resolution to Brexit. Many believe that Britain's exit from the EU will create a rise in domestic employment for construction firms.

One plan that was successful was the development of apprenticeship standards. 50 new apprenticeship standards were put into action by the construction sector along with the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA). These developments aimed to regulate and improve apprenticeship schemes throughout the country. 

Despite difficulties, the industry is putting its best foot forward and beginning to implement plans for the future.

What will 2020 hold?
After Brexit, the UK construction industry is planning on reasserting itself in the global economy. Some of these aims include:

  • Better job prospects: implemented by an increase to 25,000 apprenticeships a year by 2020.
  • A global outlook: the sector aims to increase exports, targeting the $2.5 trillion global infrastructure market.
  • Greener practices: lowering emission and reducing air pollution is a fundamental aim.
  • Happy investors and taxpayers: better value for the people putting into the £600 billion infrastructure and construction pipeline.

The year has been meticulously planned out and aims have been established. However, with the state of limbo created by Brexit, it is difficult to know how achievable these plans will be; material costs are continuing to rise, while construction earnings are not seeing much growth. Despite this, the UK construction industry will make steps in the direction of a greener, and more efficient landscape.

Some long-term construction projects will also come to fruition over the course of 2020. The London Crossrail, for example, is due for completion between October 2020 and March 2021. Additionally, plans for Heathrow's third terminal will get underway, with work forecasted to being in 2021. 2020 will also see the construction industry continue to address new challenges, such as artificial intelligence and the data revolution.

Long term aims: 2025 and beyond
There are five key areas that the industry intends to focus on in the long term (according to the Construction 2025 Industrial Strategy):

  • People – a talented and diverse workforce
  • Growth – driving growth across the entire economy
  • Smart – an efficient and technologically advanced industry
  • Leadership – clear leadership from a Construction Leadership Council
  • Sustainable – low-carbon and green construction exports

In order to execute these goals and cater to each important area, the plans are as follows:

  • Reduce the initial cost of construction by 33 percent
  • Reduce delivery times on projects, aiming for a 50 per cent faster delivery
  • Lower emissions by 50 per cent
  • Reduce the trade gap between exports and imports for construction materials, improving exports by 50 per cent
  • Increase the investment in research and development, raising it to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027
  • Invest £725 million in new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund programmes

These goals are just the beginning – with exciting projects in the pipeline and innovative new technologies to be utilised, the future looks bright. 5G is set to transform digital infrastructure and there will be a £176 million public investment for its development. Sector deals will also be made, meaning the government and independent industries will come together to work on projects such as an implementation of artificial intelligence into sectors.

If these plans are put into action, the upcoming years are set to be innovative and life-changing. After Brexit uncertainty has been tackled, and we are released from a state of limbo, the construction industry will thrive. Furthermore, if the sector is successful in its aim to cut greenhouse emissions by 50 per cent in built environments (supporting the Industrial Strategy's Clean Growth Grand Challenge) then the UK is set to be a healthier and more efficient place to live over the next decade than it has ever been before.

Article by Nifty Lift

Tags (Specialism/Topics)