With the country on the receiving end of unrelenting bad news since the Coronavirus began to wreak global havoc in March, reports that the construction industry has seen a sharp upturn in business provides a much welcome shard of positivity.
As reported in online trade magazine, Construction Enquirer, the index which measures annual business expectations for the building sector climbed to its highest level since February. June figures recorded by the bellwether HIS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Total Activity Index showed 46% of its survey panel anticipated a rise in building trade business, compared to 28.9% in May. Residential work is said to have fuelled the majority of the building resurge, with commercial work and civil engineering activity also helping the return to growth.
Tim Moore, Economics Director at IHS Markit, which complies the survey told Construction Enquirer that the building trade’s post-lockdown rebound gave ‘hope’ to other sectors which had suffered as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. “Looking ahead, construction firms are more confident than at any time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
In other good news, the government this week announced UK industry would receive around £350m to reduce carbon emissions as part of its overall target for the country to become net-zero by 2050. It’s reported that the construction industry will receive a £26m slice of the funding to support ‘advanced new building techniques’ in order to cut the sector’s build costs and resulting pollution levels.
Although the sum being pledged isn’t enormous in the grand scheme of things, it shows the government hasn’t lost sight of its environmental commitment despite the monumental challenge posed by COVID-19. As a company founded by the desire to innovate building products which facilitate healthy, sustainable living and work spaces, we at Baumit welcome this latest financial investment.
As our politicians and health experts remind us daily: ‘we are not out of the woods yet’. The following months will be crucial, not only to determining whether we are to suffer a second wave of the virus, but whether the recession is likely to cut as deep as predicted. As with any financial downturn, it will fall to the construction industry to inspire recovery. Initial signs indicate that the sector has once again not been found wanting. Speaking of IHS Markit’s sunnier-looking business forecast, Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, told Construction Enquirer: “Builders were the stars of the UK economy in June.”
We couldn’t agree more.