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UK Construction: The Next Five Years

We might be a recruitment agency but at Maxim Recruitment we pride ourselves on being up-to-the-minute. So we never ask that worn out interview question ‘where do you see yourselves in five years time?’ However it would be a question we would ask of the construction industry to see where it might be heading.

Making predictions is never a sure thing, but with a new majority government maybe we can see a few predictions taking shape. These will become clearer after George Osborne’s budget on 8th July but for now here are some of the first forecasts from within the UK industry - if the Tory promises come to fruition.

Construction Technology

A positive spin for the construction industry are developments in technology. Mobile applications make it easier for professionals to use technology on site, while BIM is being seen as groundbreaking even beyond the UK - especially for its efficiency strategies. Other technologies which will begin to create impact include the ongoing revolution in 3D printing. Many of these technologies are referred to as groundbreaking in the trade press (NCE: Future Technology: What to Look Out for in 2015) and we tend to agree with them, certainly in the way they will shape the future of the construction industry.

UK Engineering

This area is definitely coming on leaps and bounds with the help of technology (NCE: Future Technology: Where the Smart Money Is) and its ever developing techniques. Digital technology is being embraced by this sector and is set to grow. How long before all projects have a digital strategy plan we wonder?

The University of Cambridge’s Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC) has certainly lead the way, with sensors using fibre optics and wireless to detect earth movements in recent large scale projects. More research and projects are on their way from them too.

Technology certainly improves efficiency and reduces time on assessing risks. Reduced time equals reduced costs, or at the very least coming in on budget.

UK Infrastructure

This sector of the industry looks set for a bright future with the Chancellor keen to stick to his plans. He will be looking to fulfil the National Infrastructure Plan originally documented by him in 2010. This plan will cover all areas of infrastructure especially transport, energy and flooding protection. He is also keen to push ahead with his plan for the Northern Powerhouse which depends on connecting all those cities in the north. So we think these predictions are fairly safe.

  1. It’s looking good for HS2 and HS3 with plans for the latter getting a rounder strategy.
  2. Rail lines will be electrified including the Great Western Main Line and the Midland Mainline from London to Sheffield – will electrification mean they run on time and leaves on the line will be no bother?
  3. Improvements to many major roads will get the go ahead.
  4. The pledge to invest £6.9 billion in research infrastructure until 2021. This will include developments such as the Alan Turing Institute.
  5. Push ahead with the new power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset which needs an investment decision from EDF.
  6. The government is also committed to ensuring a better and faster rural broadband service is rolled out and what’s more they plan to put up the money, all £790 Million of it.


The Queen’s Speech on the State Opening of the new parliament under the Conservative government on 27th May has confirmed several issues. Of particular interest to the industry is the creation of 3 million new apprenticeships during the next five years. Although all 3 million won’t come to the UK construction industry, this will make a considerable contribution to bolstering the shortages of skilled workers in this and other industries. This will be good news for the particular skill-sets of quantity surveyors, planners and engineers of the future.

Read our recent article on the Top 10 Global Construction Apprenticeships.

UK Construction

The big news for the industry lies in the housing sector; the government’s extension of the Right to Buy scheme which will now role out to housing association tenants as well as council tenants. Prime Minister Cameron has put a caveat in place that the associations must use the money they raise this way to invest in building replacement homes.

The government has also pledged to create 200,000 starter homes available for first time buyers at a 20% reduction.

The Help to Buy scheme will also continue and a boost to overseas sales and investment due to Conservative policies keeps the UK construction industry’s future looking bright, at least for the time being. However, the EU referendum and how Cameron positions this could make a difference to investment from the rest of Europe.


Will the government be able to deliver their programme for 500 new free schools? We wait to see. They certainly haven’t rescinded this promise as yet but tight budgets may intervene yet.

Pros and Cons

So there are several pros for UK construction and infrastructure to a one party government but there are still some questions hanging. These include solving the question of more airport capacity in the south east and what green policies, if any, they will implement.

The Lib Dems indicated that all green policies that were passed in the last parliament were pushed through by them with pretty fierce opposition from the Conservatives. One light on the horizon in this area is the newly appointed Energy Secretary Amber Rudd who is an exponent of bringing about action to combat Climate Change. Let’s hope she succeeds in that and in sustainability issues within the construction industry.

In Five Years Time

We are sure the road will not be smooth for the industry during this parliament but we are confident that some areas at least will flourish. The outlook is certainly the brightest it’s been for several years within construction.

So we recommend that if you are looking for positions as quantity surveyors, planners, claim consultants or engineers please send us your CV or call us to discuss your areas of interest. We keep a beady eye on the market and will be happy to find you a good match when the time is right.

Call us on 0870 243 0446 on send us your CV via the Submit CV link.


Steve Thomas
Maxim Recruitment


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