Challenges for the Construction Industry in 2017

Challenges for the Construction Industry in 2017

14th February 2017

We’re a month into 2017 right now and living in some uncertain political and economic times, what with last year’s Brexit vote and a seeming sea-change across the Pond in America.  2017 will certainly be an interesting year for the UK as a nation and for the construction industry here as we face the changes that are sure to come.  Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the challenges that general contractors in the construction industry here in the UK are likely to see in the coming year.

Large Complex Projects

Complex new building designs are on the increase in a bid to create more energy efficient, creative and innovative new buildings.  However, these structures need expert, experienced tradesmen in all sectors, workers who can get things done quickly and accurately.  A complex building makes for complex project management issues too, administering resources, budgets, timelines, etc. becomes a more complicated business.  We’ve recently published a short series of articles on some of the issues to be taken into consideration on complex projects with handy advice on several subjects – you can access all of them from the final one.


Although traditionally a late adopter of new technologies, in recent years the construction industry as a whole has increased its use of digital tools and resources.  This has been encouraged by the requirement for BIM (Business Information Modelling) software and the availability of mobile apps for managing projects in the field.  All these cool new tech tools enable teams to work faster and more accurately, enhancing efficiency, especially on the larger, more complex projects we mentioned earlier.

Skills Shortage

Over the past few years, the shortage of skilled labour here in the UK construction industry has become more apparent.  The industry itself is on a mission to attract new, young talent into the sector with an across the board increase in salaries, with an average pay increase of 3.2% over the past year (this compares with an average pay increase of 2.5% in private industry as a whole).  The Apprenticeship initiative is another factor when it comes to addressing the skills shortage but it will be a good few years before the full effect of this will trickle into the industry itself.  We’re also facing uncertain times when it comes to hiring the necessary skilled labour from other European countries as we wait to see what Brexit will mean for us in the UK.  It’s being predicted that this skills shortage will be the biggest obstacle to industry growth so addressing the problem is vital.

Health and Safety

Safety, in particular – keeping workers safe on a construction site can be a huge challenge for general contractors across the UK.  Regular safety training, coupled with consistent improvement in safety protocols has been effective in recent years but with new, inexperienced workers continuously being employed on building sites, this vigilance needs to continue.  Fall projection presents a particular concern as industry regulators implement and enforce stricter fall protection codes, training and equipment when it comes to working at height. 

So we have some challenges ahead of us as an industry in 2017.  Here at Safety Fabrications we make sure we keep our readers up to date with new development and industry news so check back on a regular basis – or why not follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you’re always up to date with what’s going on in our sector.