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UK Construction Market Set for Growth in 2014 and Beyond

It's been a tough few years for the UK construction market, but things are very much on the up and confidence in the industry seems to be at a 6 year high, according to a recent survey by Markit / CIPS Index.

In a recent survey, 57% of construction firms questioned expect the UK construction market to grow in 2014. This newfound confidence is backed up by 8 straight months of growth between April and December 2013 according to the CIPS Index. 

Recent forecasts by the Construction Products Association (CPA) and Experian also predict solid growth in the sector for the next 4 - 5 years. 

The house building and infrastructure sectors are the two best performing sectors in the UK currently, and forecasts show this is set to continue between 2014 - 2016.

House Building sector Growth
The housing sector is going in the right direction again. Recent news reports point towards a rise in house prices over the last few months driven by a shortage of supply. Government policies such as the Help to Buy scheme are also having a positive effect on the sector, allowing people who were not previously in a position to buy their own home the chance to get on the property ladder. 

The increase in demand for property has resulted in a strong house-building sector and both Experian and CPA expect the sector to continue to grow at an above average rate compared to construction as a whole between 2014 - 2016.

The government's Help to Buy scheme is scheduled to end in 2015 and there are mixed opinions on the impact that will have on the sector. It is not thought the sector will retract but it is widely expected that growth could slow in this sector as a result.

Infrastructure Growth
Infrastructure seems to be a sector that has performed relatively well worldwide despite the recession. This may be down to many of the projects in this sector being government funded. The infrastructure sector is forecast to be the largest growing sector in the UK construction market for the foreseeable future.

Large projects such as CrossRail (£16Bn) have been contributing factors to the sector’s strong performance to date. High Speed 2 is also not far away and has a reported budget of £42.6Bn  (although it is hoped it can be delivered below this figure). The government have also committed to completing 209 of the most urgent road schemes in the UK by pledging $4.3Bn to carry out necessary works. $1.9Bn of this will be spent in 2014 alone.

The CPA expect a 20% rise in the Infrastructure sector between 2014 – 2016, and with shovels not expected to be in the ground for HS2 until 2017, the sector looks very stable for a long time.

Summary
In summary there is plenty to be optimistic about for the UK construction sector and jobs for construction workers. The estimated growth in construction as a whole in the UK between 2014 - 2016 is 9.9% as forecasted by CPA and this equates to a £11.5Bn increase.

Whilst I have highlighted two of the top performing sectors, it is also relevant to say that other sectors such as Industrial and commercial also shows signs of growth for the next couple of years and the office and retail sector in London has remained strong even during the recession. If the government are able to push through their plans to allow Fracking to begin in the UK, this could also create many new jobs in a new area of construction that has not previously been seen in the UK.

There is without doubt a returning confidence across the UK construction industry, which will lead to opportunities for construction industry professionals and construction recruitment consultancies such as Maxim alike! We look forward to receiving that updated CV!

Stuart Hackett
Senior Recruitment Consultant
UK & Middle East Regions

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