With the twin uncertainties of Brexit and the US election behind us, the construction industry is now in a position to look forward with more certainty for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018. Let’s take a look at what that means for the South West…


As the fastest-growing construction recruitment agency in the South West, Kingston Barnes speaks daily not only with the biggest global construction firms, but also with local businesses of all sizes. That puts us in the unique position of being able to canvas opinions from a wide range of construction firms currently operating in the South West about how they expect construction in the area to develop over the next 12-24 months.

The consensus seems to be that construction is expected to continue its overall growth throughout the year and into 2018, fuelled by large-scale projects such as Cardiff’s £1.2bn Capital City Region devolution deal over the next 20 years, which is sure to see demand sharply rise for skilled professionals in the area.

This anticipated overall growth for construction is borne out by the latest forecasts from the analysts at the Construction Product Association (CPA) that predict construction output will continue to rise during the next two years; this time by 0.3 per cent in 2017 and 0.2 per cent in 2018.


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Indeed, the CPA also agrees that infrastructure is one of the construction sectors facing the highest levels of growth over the next two years, as one of the UK’s publicly-funded or regulated sectors. The CPA’s Economics Director, Noble Francis says, “Infrastructure will be a key driver of construction activity. Major projects such as HS2, Hinkley Point C nuclear power station and the Thames Tideway Tunnel are anticipated to provide growth of 6.2 per cent in 2017 and 10.2 per cent in 2018.” The Hinkley project will doubtless have the biggest impact on the construction industry here in the South West, but the Thames isn’t the only river in England with a tidal program in the works; £35 million has already been spent on project development for the Swansea tidal scheme that aims to generate electricity for 155,000 homes over the next 120 years. Work is expected to start on site in 2018, with a total spend of £1.3 billion over the duration of the project.


South West Beats The Rest Of The Country

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has predicted that the South West will see average annual output grow 3.5 per cent until the end of 2018; the highest of any UK region and well ahead of the national average of 2.2 per cent. This will be driven by schemes such as Bristol’s £200m Metrobus program that will attract experienced construction professionals this year throughout its final phase.

Overall, Glenigan’s Construction Review and Forecast for 2017 forecasts a nine per cent growth in industrial construction, as well as 12 per cent in civil engineering – largely due to power and rail work. As Highways England brings projects forwards, 2017 could also see increased investment in the national road network.


Other Growth Sectors

Another sector forecast for growth in the next two years is education construction, with the CPA predicting activity will rise by 5.8 per cent by 2018. This is due to a combination of public sector capital investment in the Priority School Building Programme, along with private sector investment in universities as they compete for students, including £1 billion programmes at Manchester, Cambridge and Glasgow.

As numbers of overseas tourists to the UK continue to grow year-on-year, Glenigan also anticipates a seven per cent growth in project starts for hotels and leisure this year. Further out, they also expect private housing projects to strengthen from 2018 onwards, with a strong long-term pipeline of planning submissions.


We’re Looking Forward – Are You?

With growth predicted both by analysts and construction companies across a wide range of sectors, we’re looking forward to a great 2017 and 2018 for construction in the South West. We’re also looking forward to continuing to support the local industry by placing the right person in the right job every time.

Whether you want to get ahead of the competition and secure the best talent for your firm now, or you want to make the most of your career in a growth market, Kingston Barnes has the expertise to help you achieve your goals. Talk to us today on 0117 325 2233 or email us at office@kingstonbarnes.com

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