Currie & Brown, a world-leading provider of project management, cost management, and advisory services, has published its latest UK construction market outlook report which analyses data from the start of the year to date and anticipates the impact of market trends on the sector – both in the near and longer-term.
In his introduction, Nick Gray, Chief Operating Officer, UK & Europe says: ‘To date, inflation remains high and the primary challenge facing the construction sector. However, the profile of price inflation is changing. While the high materials and fuel costs experienced in 2022 are beginning to ease, skills shortages are starting to bite, jeopardising project delivery and driving up costs.
The health of the construction sector – and wider economy – is closely tied to the delivery of the national infrastructure, health, and energy programmes. However, these programmes and their component projects are all talent intensive, meaning the demand for skilled professionals is likely to outstrip supply.
Compounding the issue is timing. We’re likely to see a jump in activity from 2025 to 2030 as the current pipeline comes to market. Yet the Construction Skills Network anticipates that we will need an extra 225,000 construction workers to meet demand by 2027.
The repercussions of this shortfall would be significant. Scarcity elevates cost, and with labour typically accounting for 40% of project costs, any uplift in this area will have a serious impact on overall budgets and project viabilities. This in turn could lead to projects being delayed or re-scoped, diminishing their potential to support economic growth and societal needs.
Our latest report offers guidance to project leads looking to avoid this scenario. It explores the importance of robust project management and continuous, close control of cost and risk, and the need for professionals to embrace modern methods of construction and technology to deliver time and resource efficiencies. It also discusses the need for a collaborative effort on training from players across the construction industry. These measures will be critical in realising better built environments that deliver real value for all.’