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The five things you need to do now if you work in construction

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First a confession. Not all of these are my own thoughts.  They come largely from the  Glenigan Construction Industry Forecast for 2020 - 2022. This makes four key recommendations to which I’ve added my own thoughts and one other essential action which I’ve thrown into the mix because I believe it’s as vital as the preceding four. 

Focus on the best performing (sub)sectors and regions

State investment has already been massive in this crisis.  However, while the government is trying to spread its net wide, some sectors willbe recipients of larger sums and greater interest than others. In particular, Glenigan cites education, health, civil engineering and community & amenity sectors.  I’d add housebuilding to that list: there is a well-documented need for homes across the entire country. New build will be important, but it’s clear that city centres, many of which are going to have far fewer offices, will offer opportunities for re-designed urban living, or, as Glenigan puts it, “structural changes are also expected to create new opportunities in warehousing & logistics, office refurbishment and the repurposing of redundant commercial premises.”  

Risk mitigation

In today’s febrile climate it’s more important than ever to zero-in on turnover and cashflow. Both will tax business owners and FDs over the rest of the current year.  In simple terms, companies and contractors all want to hold on to their money: make sure you treat them fairly, but make sure you get what you are owed when it’s due.

Procurement is already uppermost in people’s minds, even if they didn’t previously give it much thought (think of the panic buying and the controversy over NHS supplies). Review your supply chains, identify any potential areas of disruption/interruption and make sure you are not over-exposed to a few clients.

Work more efficiently

As Glenigan says, “on-site working restrictions to contain COVID-19 transmission rates is (sic) exacerbating the need for the industry to use on-site labour more sparingly and effectively.”  Result?  Increased costs and disruption to projects being delivered on-time.

Review everything.  It’s what we’re doing at Peace Recruitment. Are there design solutions, changes to site operating practices and offsite manufacturing options that will take you ahead of your competition?  In many cases these will involve the use of digital solutions to cut waste and accelerate design and construction processes. Which brings me nicely to…

Embrace digital solutions

Retail and services industries have accelerated their move online, massively so in some cases, with a few spectacular results. Construction, as I’ve been writing here for years, needs to accelerate dramatically.  Bear in mind too, as Glenigan notes, this doesn’t just apply to Contech: you should also be working to improve your digital marketing channels and integrate them with your sales-team.  

To which I’d add a fifth

Glenigan specifically warns in its report that, “firms will need to target these new emerging opportunities, ensuring that they have the expertise and resources to increase their exposure to growing markets.” In other words, make sure you have the best people in every position in your company.  And if you don’t, then you start by making a call to us today…

Chris Peace, MD, Peace Recruitment


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