This month, Birmingham has spent less time in the headlines of nationwide construction news, whereas the government is taking centre stage. Growing international trade and promising government grants suggest healthy ongoing boosts to the sector as a whole.
Birmingham Construction News
Each month heralds exciting new plans to add to the Birmingham landscape, and November is no different. The construction firm, Wates, has recently secured a £31 million deal to construct a 31-storey tower block of flats. The site is at the corner of Broad Street and Oozells, and rendered images in the article show the scale of the build.
In the West Midlands alone, studies have found more than 9,000 young adults aged 16 to 24 are in no form of formal education or training. A further report, that you can read below, has found the UK is in dire need of more skilled construction labour. In an effort to help tackle the problem, M. Lambe Construction, based in Birmingham is looking to increase its already sizeable recruitment of young apprentices.
UK Construction News
In the 3rd week of November, the UK government announced plans to roll out some very sizeable grants and investments to a number of crucial British industries. The construction sector is set to benefit greatly from this initiative, with £170 million put aside for a fund known as the “Transforming Construction Challenge”. Amidst growing uncertainty around Brexit, it appears the government is willing to go big on backing British businesses.
Figures released this month by the Construction Equipment Association (CEA) show that, in the first 9 months of 2017, exports of construction equipment were up 21%. On top of this, there is growing demand of 12% in the same period for construction-based imports. A sign of growing trade internationally, coupled with increased domestic demand for construction services.
Further proof of this healthy demand comes in this article, highlighting the lack of skilled labour in the UK construction industry. A recent report analysing a spread of firms across the UK has found that 62% have found that a lack of skilled workers is holding back their business. The average of this statistic over the last 5 years is just 40%, so this increase could be worrying.
It would also appear that the UK is faced with a growing problem of late payments from clients. Between 2011 and 2016, the average days spent waiting for payment has risen from 52 to 69. This is a worrying statistic for an industry that is dependant on laying out large sums of money to finance construction before being paid. If hit by economic downturn, or unexpected bills in that 2 month period, this could be destructive to a number of UK firms.