Construction - Keeping it in the Family

Construction - Keeping it in the Family

30th July 2018

Most of us who work in the construction industry here in the UK will be aware that sector depends heavily on small to medium enterprise (SMEs) – in fact, more than 99% of all UK businesses are classed as SMEs, employing more than 12 million people and taking a vital role in growing the UK economy.  A recent survey reveals that British construction relies on more than 900,000 family firms, employing 1.4 million people, representing almost 70% of private sector employment.  What’s more, despite the gloomy economic outlook as we face Brexit, these companies are growing with their turnover increasing by almost 18 billion over the past year.

A spokesperson for the Institute of Family Business (IFB) describes family businesses as the “backbone of the UK economy”, and reveals that their contribution and widespread presence are often overlooked.  Family businesses thrive here in the UK across every industry sector, from start-ups to multi-generational international brands.  .

A million family businesses have been launched since 2010, employing 2.3 million people and making a serious construction to the UK GDP which has increased by £100 billion in the past eight years.  .  In fact, family firms now generate a quarter of the UK GDP and demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit that’s envied and admired around the world.

Here in the UK construction industry, it’s often the case that tradespeople will pass on their skills to their children in a bid to ensure that the family business provides income and a good lifestyle for future generations.  This really is a win-win situations.  Children who are brought up working within a family business tend to develop a great work ethic from a very early age.  They also gain insights and understanding into running a business and are able to see the big picture without ever having attended a business studies class.  They know just how important customer service is, that it’s vital to provide excellent quality workmanship as a means of future proofing the business and gaining a great reputation for quality, trust and reliability.

Following parents into the family business is particularly useful in the construction sector as we worry about traditional skills being lost – it’s good for consumers, it’s good for family businesses, it’s good for the industry and it’s great for the economy in the UK.

So many small construction companies in the UK take pride in the addition of “& Sons” to their business titles and the cachet that this addition brings in terms of demonstrating longevity and trust to potential clients.   Householders in the UK will often ask for recommendations from family and friends when planning repairs, refurbishments and other building projects on their homes.  As the construction industry as a whole tries to diversify and attract more women into construction, some of these small building firms are adding “& Daughters” to their titles too, a welcome development for the sector as a whole.