1st June 2015

The Impact of the Economy on the UK Construction Industry

The construction industry is often regarded as volatile, however its fate is directly tied to the UK's economy. It is therefore imperative that businesses innovate and invest in construction industry software to stabilise growth.

The UK construction industry is able to stimulate both economic growth and employment due to its reliance on vast supply chain, making a tremendous contribution to the UKs economy. As the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) reported, for each £1 spent on construction output, a total of £2.84 in total economic activity is generated. Added to this, construction relies predominantly on materials manufactured in the UK, which means money invested in construction is reinvested into other industries and sectors, generating additional economic activity within the UK. 

Stabilising Growth
Small changes in the economy are directly felt by those within the construction industry, along with many other industries and business sectors. For example, when the great recession hit in 2008, the construction industry, particularly house building, fared badly, with construction output falling faster than the economy itself. Added to this, the housing market crashed, manufacturing slowed and people lost the confidence to invest. 

Despite the decline in the economy heavily affecting the construction industry, in 2009, it recovered faster than the economy as a whole, and following this, the UK began its recovery… The effects are circular. This growth has continued, with UKCG Director Stephen Ratcliffe saying, “The continued growth in construction reported by the latest [Construction Trade] survey is encouraging, and hopefully the clear general election result will help minimise any impact on work pipelines.”

The growth we’re experiencing is being driven by innovations in technology that are allowing construction and contracting businesses to design, plan and complete projects more efficiently. It is the ability to “do more with less” that enables these businesses to perform better and realise their true potential.

Untapped Potential
The UK is one of the world’s largest ICT markets, reportedly worth £58 billion. How does this affect the construction industry? New technology and construction ERP software is allowing businesses to easily manage projects from start to finish, with instant access to detailed data analysis, anytime, anywhere. The adoption of technology is being supported by the Government as they understand the potential for construction to stimulate growth that will be felt countrywide. 

UK construction businesses must continue to innovate to differentiate themselves from other low cost countries, as the Governments economic analysis of the construction industry stated, “By engaging in international markets, UK construction businesses could gain greater exposure to new ideas and knowledge as well as access to customers, suppliers and skills from around the world. This would keep them at the forefront of ongoing developments in innovation and technology.” Innovation is essential to allow businesses to compete, survive and grow. 

The Future of the UK Construction Industry 
We’re still in recovery and there is still uncertainty, but technology looks set to stabilise this sector allowing the economy and the businesses within it to grow. We recently wrote about a variety of new technologies that look set to transform the construction industry. Find out more here.

Construction is the best sector for stimulating employment, which is why the Conservative Government has put a great deal of focus in to investing in the creation of three million apprenticeships, building over 200,000 new homes and are designing new incentives to encourage growth. 

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