UK Construction Perspective Remains Austere


The annual Construction Skills Network report was recently released, the link to which is available at the bottom of this article. The report, produced by CITB-ConstructionSkills the UK industries sector skills council and industry training board, suggested an austere outlook in the UK for the foreseeable future, perhaps even a further 10 years.

During 2012 the UK economy fell back in recession with 60,000 jobs lost and productivity falling by 9%. The industry as a whole has trundled through its most testing and difficult period since the mid-1940s, shedding jobs of many a good men and women, young and old.

The bleak figures produced for 2012 showed the following:

  • 20% downturn in public sector housing and non-housing construction
  • 5% downturn in private housing construction
  • 10% per cent downturn in commercial sector construction
  • 15% downturn in infrastructure construction

It’s predicted that over the next 5 years there will be an expected average growth rate of 0.8%. Furthermore, growth rate is not predicted to match the topmost pre-crisis growth rate until the early 2020’s.

With these dismal figures why would young talented individuals want to join the construction industry? As there is so much uncertainty surrounding future prospects, job security and career progression within the construction industry, they will probably seek other avenues. Therein lies a problem, whereby when a construction boom does eventually arrive, there may be a skills shortage. As a truss designer I’ve seen absolutely no trainee truss design positions advertised recently, it is thus important that we keep bringing in new blood to the industry. Two of my colleagues (timber frame) recently attended a MiTek design software course where 3 people were in attendance, including them.

The sooner the banks begin lending again the better, as I believe that should kick-start our industry. Goldman Sachs has recently put aside $13bn for their employees’ salaries, bonuses and perks. I feel this is very bad form considering that they were one of the leading banking cowboys that caused this recession, acting extremely cavalier with massive sums of money. Whilst everyone else struggles they are still living the champagne lifestyle they once were, and still are, accustomed to.


Greg G Watson

Roof Truss Design Technician & Estimator

Dundee, Scotland, UK |