16 Nov Construction Continues Despite COVID-19 Second Lockdown
The UK was forced into a second lockdown commencing on the 5th November, meaning yet again many non-essential businesses had to close their doors.
However, as an essential industry for economic growth and development, the construction sector has been urged by the government to continue amid the lockdown but encouraged to follow strict social distancing guidelines. Unlike the previous lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson explicitly requested that construction and manufacturing should continue during the UK’s second lockdown.
Despite a second lockdown now in action, it appears that the construction industry is the come-back kid of COVID-19, as it pushes on with projects across the UK.
Data released in November by market research company IHS Markit has revealed a continued construction industry recovery, despite slower growth.
Construction The Shining Light
During October many construction companies who specialise in home building pushed ahead with projects, making the construction sector one of the quickest to bounceback.
Many firms credit the surge in home building to the government’s cut in stamp duty, as the sale of new homes boosted demand, with new orders increasing at the fastest pace for almost five years.
Since October, house building has remained the best performing construction area.
The future outlook is also strongly positive, as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors released data this month revealing that many companies expect workloads to rise over the next year.
There is anticipation, particularly in the house building arena, that changes to the planning system and extensions to Help to Buy and Stamp Duty will create more activity.
Investment in the construction sector will also lead to more opportunity, as the UK government has announced up to £37 bn of funding for over 250 projects. This includes investment in local construction such as schools, local transportation, and green homes.
Many local construction projects are now getting the green light to keep the momentum going as we reach 2021.
In Cambridge, First Base and RPMI Railpen recently confirmed that they have entered into a contract to acquire a 3-acre site in Cambridge City Centre, which will see construction commence in 2021 of mixed-use development.
Construction Roles To Surge
Keeping sites up and running during this second lockdown has become a priority for many construction firms as they look to recruit teams for short-term and long-term projects.
If there is one thing that has been demonstrated during 2020, it is that the construction sector has shown that a wide range of construction can be done safely.
As an industry that holds a huge responsibility in the health and safety of its workers and the general public, the construction sector has proven its strength in being able to operate effectively in the most uncertain environment.
While teams are now smaller onsite than pre-covid to maintain social distancing, many firms are looking to refresh their teams for the growth of projects.
Construction Firm Murphy’s has recently revealed that they plan on a major recruitment campaign as they look to push forward with the construction of HS2 and the London Power Tunnels. CEO John Murphy also encouraged other businesses to look at employment, commenting that, “I believe now is the right time for employers to look at helping those affected by the pandemic and the recession, to provide new opportunities for those who need them.”
As more construction projects begin to get the go-ahead, there will no doubt be a rise in the demand for skilled workers.
The construction industry is the catalyst for the UK economy to recover, and as we see more investment and movement on national projects, the job opportunities will begin to grow with it.