Urban development is often seen as being a constant. But, as with any industry, it is prone to peaks and troughs. The construction industry has been going through a difficult time as of late. There has been some consistent growth to the industry within the UK. It is the North West, however, that is the shining star of the nation. Whilst the rest of the UK’s growth is between 1.2-1.5%, the North West is looking at a boom of around 15%! Leading the way for the rest of the country.
The North West construction boom is on average 10x higher than anywhere else in the UK, so what can we learn from this incredible surge in productivity?
With the total value of construction in this region over the last three months (July - September 2018) coming to £4.6 billion, that shows a £600 million increase compared to the same three months last year.
"The North West construction boom is on average 10x higher than anywhere else in the UK."
In the months leading up to this spike in construction there were some predictions made that 2018 may not be the nightmare experts first thought. A surge in hiring, high expenditure on construction and a general increased optimism within the industry are all factors touted as being the combined cause.
Equally we must look at the type of construction driving this boom. In the North West it is, on the whole, commercial property acting as the driving force.
With the number of start-ups increasing year on year at an incredible rate, the need for office space grows with it. The UK is second only to the US as the place to start and grow businesses according to Simon Rogerson, CEO of Octopus in a 2017 interview.
Whilst commercial is a big factor, we can’t ignore the housing market in this region. Thanks to Help-to-Buy schemes and the focus of millennials to get on to the property ladder, house building is booming in this region too. Where the south and London are struggling to keep up, the price of land further north is drawing the attention of property investors.
"Thanks to Help-to-Buy schemes and the focus of millennials to get on to the property ladder, house building is booming in this region."
What can be done in London and the rest of the South? In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan is putting forward the first ever City Hall proposal focusing solely on social housing. With so many vulnerable people awaiting placement in affordable housing this will do wonders for them but also London and south east England construction. With 10,000 homes being proposed, the amount of jobs created to undertake such a massive project will be a fantastic boost.
What are the ripple effects of this boom? Well the simple answer is a stronger economy for the region. Increased revenue for local construction firms, merchants and builders.
"The ripple effect of this boom is, quite simply, a stronger and healthier economy for the region."
But also,women are benefiting from the surge. According to Core Talent’s Victoria Goodier and Priya Sirpal who head up the construction division and permanent hiring, there has been a spike in the number of women candidates in the region. Most notably within areas such as planning.
This is a fantastic marker for things going forward and it is widely acknowledged that greater diversity in the workplace makes for higher levels of efficiency. Fresh perspectives will open up opportunities in areas we may never have considered.
What can we do to continue this rise in diversity?
Women Into Construction is an organisation determined to normalise, not sensationalise, women in the construction industry. Reports and interviews published online and in the media show women are being made to feel self conscious in the industry. It is crucial to have a zero tolerance policy on gendered harassment and bullying so that women feel as at home on site as their male counterparts are allowed to be.
"Women Into Construction is an organisation determined to normalise, not sensationalise, women in the construction industry."
If this kind of surge in productivity is possible in one region, it is surely possible in others.
London itself is looking at an entirely new skyline within the next 10 years. Not only this but the increased interest in modular construction may see a jump in house building. Already private property production is increasing. With more innovations reducing cost and time on our building sites, there is no reason this won’t benefit further booms in the future for other regions.