Who could have predicted the massive and rapid changes we’d see over the last couple of years, not just in the world at large, but specifically in the construction sector? What’s interesting, is that the changes may have left us in a stronger position overall.
It goes without saying that there were a lot of negatives to the pandemic – and of course it’s still ongoing – but there’s no doubt that we saw changes in our industry that might have taken many years without the catalyst of a global crisis.
And what that tells us is that the wider construction industry is capable of change. We can be flexible, we can adapt, and we can put in place technology that enables us to rise to any challenge.
For some companies, there’s no going back. Remote working and online meetings are the new normal – and hybrid ways of working are more acceptable. For others, including our team at Super Structures Associates, we’ve learned the value of working together, in person.
Of course, we’re grateful for the technology that meant our business was able to continue through three lockdowns, but as a team we now know we prefer being in the office. When we’re together in person we learn from each other, help each other out, and can easily discuss current projects. My team told me they missed being able to bounce ideas off me and each other when we were forced to work from home.
But whether or not you’ve embraced the new normal, or rushed back to the office, the positives cannot be denied. Even with the combined pressures of Brexit, supply chain issues, cost increases and shortages of materials, the construction sector has performed well. One example – in June 2021, the UK construction sector saw the strongest output rate (66.3) since 1997. Today, there are new pressures on the sector, but there are still plenty of reasons for optimism:
1. Population growth
The UK population is now at 67.5 million, having grown by 17.5 million people since 1950. And it continues to climb. This means we need new homes and new infrastructure to support a rising population.
2. Environmental pressures
Sustainability is a hot topic and demand for green buildings continues to grow. This is good for both the planet and the construction industry. The market for eco-friendly buildings is predicted to grow 14.3% between 2020 and 2027.
3. Modernisation and remote working
The rapid modernisation in working practices and the adoption of technology over the last couple of years means the construction sector is more attractive to people in tech. As more tech roles are created and filled in construction firms, modernisation will continue and it will be easier to attract a new generation of workers to the sector.
4. Tech adoption
Big data, artificial intelligence and digital technologies are not only being embraced by bigger firms, but as software prices come down, they’ll become more accessible to smaller companies. Embracing technology helps create efficiencies and allows for smoother project management via digital modelling.
5. Faith in the sector
Ultimately, the last few years haven’t been an easy ride. And it’s likely that there are more challenges to come. But we know that with challenges, come opportunities. We’re now used to rapid change, and quite a high level of uncertainty, which puts our sector in a strong position to ride future waves and weather future storms.
That’s five solid reasons for optimism. And I haven’t even mentioned that the increase in home workers means we’ll continue to see more residential projects. It’s easy to let the doom and gloom in the media get you down, but keeping an open mind and staying positive – while doing everything you can to keep your business healthy – is a more sensible approach.
Meanwhile, if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.