The construction sector in the UK is seeing signs of improvement, both in published figures and also in what small businesses like us are seeing “on the ground”.
Construction work that began in quarter one of this year, 2021, was 5% higher than the previous year, as seen in data published in April by Glenigan. When you consider the fact that the UK did not go into lockdown until 26 March 2020, and therefore last year’s figures were largely unaffected by the pandemic, these numbers are significant.
Speaking to The Guardian, Tim Moore, Economics Director at IHS Markit, shared that March 2021 data, “Revealed a surge in UK construction output as the recovery broadened out from house building to commercial work and civil engineering.”
He added, “Residential spending remained robust, commercial projects restarted and infrastructure contract awards moved ahead.”
Here at Super Structures Associates we’re definitely seeing more workflow now – possibly driven by consumer confidence as the number of people being vaccinated increases.
We’re also seeing that mortgage companies appear to be a little more paranoid about lending. This means that we’re being brought in to check potential structural issues – on a very quick turnaround – to prevent residential sales falling through. Some of these are circumstances that might not have been flagged up by a lender in more stable times.
In one example, the surveyor had mentioned spray foam insulation in the roof, and this spooked the mortgage company, meaning the sale was about to fall through. I moved fast to attend the site and prove that ventilation was possible and the rafters would not rot – easing the mortgage company’s concerns that the rafters could rot – and the sale was able to proceed, much to the relief of both the vendor and the buyer.
If you’re not yet seeing the green shoots of recovery in your own business, it is perhaps worth mentioning that the uptick in enquiries we’ve seen appears to be partially based on asking clients for Google reviews, alongside the other profile-raising work we’ve been doing.
Many of the people who contact us mention that the 26 five-star reviews we have is a factor in them deciding to get in touch. People are even paying us to travel some distance, because they can’t find a structural engineer with five-star reviews in their own area.
I share this to encourage you – if you’re running a business in need of more work – to ask previous and current clients for Google reviews. It’s a very effective way to attract people to your company and can make you easier to find on Google too.
I’ll talk about some of the other work we’ve done to raise our profile next time. Meanwhile, if you need assistance with the structural elements of an upcoming project, please do get in touch.