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Infrastructure Keeps UK Construction Professionals Busy

Two areas of construction were the main focus in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement keeping the industry very happy and potentially very busy. So it seems like it's good news for housing and infrastructure - which is where Hammond put the money.

The commitment to these investments means the construction job market should remain buoyant. Although to be fair, as several of my colleagues have mentioned, there are currently plenty of opportunities especially for quantity surveyors. A shortage of candidates means you could have your pick of what's on offer.

Infrastructure Investment

The Chancellor's pledge of £23bn should keep things on the up. According to The Guardian it will be split as follows: '£2.6bn on modernising roads, building infrastructure for electric vehicles and supporting railways; and £700m on high-speed fibre broadband and 5G services'.

This is all part of Hammond's plan to keep the UK moving forward and increasing productivity all round. Some of the reasoning seems to be that better infrastructure links means less time wasted getting to work. Add to this the investment in faster broadband and he hopes this will see an upturn in the country's economy.

In the Meantime

So where are the opportunities? Well HS2 has announced the proposed route for Phase 2 and there are several consultations in operation just now.

Phase 1 London to West Midlands is due to start next year. The completion of the high speed routes linking the south to the north and the east to the west, is not expected until 2033, so we see plenty of on-going opportunities within this project for the usual suspects: quantity surveyors, engineers, project managers, risk assessors and the like.

Road Projects in the North

There are three road projects in the north of the country and others planned to support new housing in other parts of the country.

A stretch of the M60 is to be treated to some upgrading (junction 8 - 18) with the possibilities of a Trans-Pennine road tunnel.

Also in line for some upgrading are a new Tees crossing, a stretch of the A500 in Cheshire, 'a Sheffield Innovation Corridor' and a Metrolink for Manchester Airport.

Dutch Style Roundabout in Cambridge

In Cambridgeshire it's the A14 that's being upgraded. Expanding to three lanes, it is predicted this will take 20 minutes off journey times.

A new Huntingdon Bypass will be constructed which will mean widening the A1and A14 plus upgrading several junctions.

Meanwhile as plans are afoot for BREXIT, Cambridge itself imports an idea from the Netherlands: a Dutch-style roundabout. What this means is an extra outside, parallel ring with priority crossings on each of the arms. This additional ring is for cyclists and pedestrians.

In the Netherlands where cyclists have right of way even over pedestrians and their own separate cycle lanes, the culture is already used to giving way to them. This type of roundabout has been trialled here already. Users all felt it was safe but understanding the priorities may take a little getting used to.

Making the Most of the Opportunities

In our ever-changing climate, we hope you will see the positives in the latest initiatives. If you're thinking of moving positions or contracts, it looks as though this latest impetus from the government will keep the construction industry moving and the opportunities flowing.

So, we look forward to hearing from all of you searching for your next appointment as a quantity surveyor, engineer, project manager or risk assessor. Make sure we have your up to date CV and  keep an eye on our jobs pages.

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Steve Thomas
Director - Hong Kong & UK Construction Recruitment Specialist

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