Construction Industry News Roundup for 2018

Construction Industry News Roundup for 2018

31st December 2018


As we begin a brand new year, here at Safety Fabrications we’re taking a look back at 2018 to remind our readers of the news and other developments that particularly affected our industry over the past twelve months.

We began 2018 with the shocking news that UK multinational facilities management and construction services giant, Carillion went into compulsory liquidation on January 15th  with debts of almost £7 billion.  Since its launch in 1999, Carillion had grown (through a series of acquisitions) to become Britain’s second largest construction company and was listed on the London Stock Exchange, employing more than 43,000.  The insolvency resulted in project shutdowns in the UK and overseas, combined with financial losses for its joint venture partners and lenders.  The collapse of Carillion also led to financial losses for its 30,000 suppliers, some of whom were pushed into insolvency and to the 27,000 members of its 13 UK defined benefit pension schemes.

In January, a survey carried out by Building (the construction industry media outlet) on women in the construction sector revealed that more than half (56%) of female respondents had experienced sexual harassment and a third had been discriminated against on the grounds of their gender in the previous year.  Coupled with April’s gender pay gap report, this makes it clear that the number of women working in our industry has barely changed since the Sex Discrimination Act was passed 40 years ago.  We need to do much better than this if we hope to attract the diverse workforce that will be necessary after Brexit.

In May, Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of building regulations and fire safety was published, causing uproar with the prescriptions for change it contained.  Whilst the report featured some widely supported recommendations for improving the system, its conclusion that the Grenfell Tower fire was a result of building regulations being too prescriptive, rather than too lax, caused controversy.

The government committed £172 million to the joint industry/government Transforming Construction Challenge Fund as a first stage in delivering the construction sector deal. 

Profits and pay have been increasing in many areas, including housebuilders, consultants and infrastructure contractors and there is currently close to zero unemployment in the construction sector.  The Apprenticeship Programme is finally seeing an increase in the number of young people participating in this valuable work training initiative, so there has been good news for our industry over the past year. 

With Brexit on the horizon, 2019 promises to hold challenges for all sectors, but the construction industry in particular.  Our sector has relied heavily in the past on migrant workers from Europe and there is still no clear information on just how severely we will be challenged by the lack of skilled workers.  However, the industry is changing rapidly, partly as a result of new technology and materials developments. 

Why not stay with us to keep up to date with news and developments that will affect the UK construction sector in 2019?  You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get a notification on all the news we publish and leave your comments and thoughts for us to read.