2019 Retrospective: a Bumper year for Construction
2019 turned out to be an excellent year for those in construction, with expectations far exceeded and the recession becoming a less-menacing memory. An increase in house building gave the sector an enormous boost and saw Britain have one of the most successful years in almost two decades.
Political factors certainly influenced the construction boom, with the UK Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) seeing a number of house builders moving on from the difficulties of the year before and investing heavily in new plots. In the previous year the general election had created some uncertainly around government policy, with construction companies and builders wary of purchasing plots before they were certain there would not be any changes to taxes and other politically-driven elements.
Increase in Commercial Building
It was not only house builders that had a good 2019, with commercial builders also enjoying a very profitable year. A marked increase in building activity was noted and many existing buildings were given facelifts. A focus on green building practices and environmentally-friendly materials was noted, as was the use of more unique options such as bespoke tensile fabric structures. Building was not only functional but also saw a focus on aesthetics, while budgets and cost-cutting measures were relaxed somewhat when compared with recent years.
Construction Industry Given a Boost
The government’s interest in encouraging an increase in house building – particularly on green and Brownfield sites – coupled with the offer of a £12bn boost to infrastructure spending from George Osborne has given the construction industry the boost it needed.
Initially it seemed that commercial builders may be in for a bleak 2019; however, there was a marked increase in productivity in November and December, ending the year on a high note. Whether this is sustainable in 2020 remains to be seen but with government measures being implemented to increase demand, the sector looks set to enjoy another good year.
The building sector is still nursing its wounds after the recession; however, with 2019 being such a good year, a renewed confidence is being enjoyed and commercial and house builders are looking to the future with renewed enthusiasm.