As we've said in several posts over the last year, it's easy to knock the Scottish construction industry. However, those at the sharp end know that, although things have gone flat in some areas and there is definitely some bad news kicking around, the market is resilient and has a lot to look forward to over the next few years Yes, the B(rexit) word could knacker us all, but I'd prefer to take an optimistic outlook and not start the Corporal Jones impressions until it's clear they are necessary.
That's also the opinion of two significant industry bodies - the Federation of Master Builders Scotland and the Q2 2018 RICS UK Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey. As reported in Scottish Construction, the former notes that "despite significant headwinds" the sector is surviving and indeed thriving - or, as they put it, "Scotland’s small and medium-sized construction firms enjoyed strong growth in the second quarter of 2018."
The RICS survey records that "construction workloads slowed in Scotland over the last quarter" with "financial constraints, planning delays and restrictive regulations ... cited as continuing to limit activity." However, the survey also shows that "a net balance of 30% foresee an increase in hiring throughout the sector in the next year."
Scottish Construction then quotes Jeffrey Matsu, RICS senior economist, as saying, “Although growth in the sector has moderated, ongoing capacity constraints have ensured a steady pipeline of work with robust expectations for the year ahead. With businesses continuing to hire to meet this pent-up demand, the effects of any uncertainty generated by Brexit or recent market events, including Carillion, may only become more evident in the longer-term.”
Both these reports note that continuing skills shortages in some key areas. We're well aware of them too - our phones have been nearly as red hot as the weather recently!
Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment