Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) has further revised downwards its outlook for growth in construction activity in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC): Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Youssef Ouchagour, construction industry analyst at Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center, looks at some of China’s leading contractors, and projects that they are undertaking in Africa.
Indian infrastructure giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has announced that its construction unit has won contracts worth INR19.26bn ($282M) across its business units.
Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) has sharply revised down its outlook for construction output in Poland as EU financial assistance is at a standstill. Nathan Hayes, economist at CIC, discusses the situation.
The Costain Skanska joint venture (CSJV) environmental team working on the Crossrail Bond Street station in Central London has won one of the programme’s sustainability awards.
UK-based construction and engineering company Costain highlighted the importance of preserving the environment and biodiversity in an initiative last month.
Costain’s London Bridge redevelopment project team has won a gold Green Apple Award due to its positive contribution to the built environment.
The UK construction industry will converge in Birmingham next month, as the UK Construction Week event combines nine shows at the NEC venue from 18–20 October.
Ian Anfield, managing director for leading construction audit, contract and payroll provider Hudson Contract, comments on recent talk of a UK recession in light of the Brexit vote.Whether we’re entering a recession or not is a big talking point at the moment. Certainly, we at Hudson Contract have seen that the number of operatives averaged per client has dipped by 4.5% in the last three months, but it’s unclear if that means an output dip or the beginning of a long downturn. There are so many factors to be considered but I have an impression that any downturn may be relatively short-lived. I read a piece written by HSBC’s chief economist who commented that the government has done a number of credible things since the vote. These included ensuring new leadership headed by Theresa May, ruling out an early General Election, and ruling out an emergency budget. Taking time to speak with European leaders and not triggering Article 50 this year all seems to make economic common sense. It’s certainly not all doom and gloom. The latest reports from the Purchasing Managers’ Index reveals that construction output also recovered last month following a seven-year low in July. It appears that business confidence is stabilising and the feared short-term effects of the referendum have been short-lived to a certain extent. Overall I’m definitely one for seeing the glass being half-full for the construction industry. Private business can and will build if the government act in a decisive and positive way to minimise the uncertainty the Brexit vote created. We’ve all seen how Team GB performed recently — it’s time the whole country took on the ‘Believe’ mantra.
The European and Indian construction machinery markets have shown growth this year, while other regions have seen a slow-down, according to Germany’s engineering association the VDMA.Latest research from the Construction Equipment and Building Material Machinery arm of the VDMA suggests that the machinery sector has grown in regions including France, Germany and India. The Middle East and North America, on the other hand, have registered drops in machinery sales, in addition to the weak markets of Latin America, Africa and parts of Asia. After five years of recession, China still hasn’t recovered from a loss of an accumulated 80% of its volume, says the report.The research also anticipates a drop in the global construction machinery sales due to regional developments, even though German manufacturers are set to register a slight turnover increase of 3%.Johann Sailer, VDMA chairman, said: “This is primarily due to the strong European market.”However, growth might not be equal for all manufacturers, added Sailer: “Depending on where a company’s focuses lie individual results could still be on the negative side.”Building material machinery updateThe report from the VDMA also examines the building material plant and machinery business.The sector is subject to less instability than the construction machinery sector. Nevertheless, manufacturers depend on long-term stable growth markets and these are deficient at the moment — due to the Russian market breakdown. Only Central Europe, India and North America are rated as satisfactory.Overcapacities also present a challenge for manufacturers. When it comes to this, the sector automatically thinks about China, says the association.“We don’t expect suppliers from China to flood the market with their equipment but the trend is clear – when domestic markets are weak companies shift to export markets,” said Sailer.In addition, political and economic uncertainties are present in many sectors. “We don’t want to just keep talking about crises and many current issues do not even have a direct impact on the construction sector. But obviously, news of this kind always affect the investment climate among our customers,” said Sailer.Overall, the VDMA concluded that “the construction equipment and building material machinery industry is indeed a growth sector”.
Sheffield City Council has announced a 60-year partnership agreement with Chinese firm Sichuan Guodong Construction to develop the UK city. The £1bn deal is set to be the biggest Chinese investment of its kind to be made outside of London. The first investment, worth about £220M, will fund four or five Sheffield city centre projects over the next three years.Councillor Julie Dore, Sheffield City Council leader, said: “This is the biggest Chinese investment deal to be made by a UK city outside of London. And perhaps more importantly it is first deal of its kind to be made by a UK city. This is a real partnership.“The projects funded by this investment will be determined by Sheffield City Council, and the 60-year commitment secures a stream of investment into our city for the next generation, and means a whole range of projects become viable because of the long-term nature of the relationship.”Councillor Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “We are clear that this will create hundreds, if not thousands, of additional jobs for the people of Sheffield. The investment comes from China, but the workforce on these projects will be British.”Sheffield has also signed, recently, co-operation trade agreements with the cities of Daqing and Nanchang.
The UK construction industry is expected to experience major downside risks to growth following UK’s vote to leave the European Union, according to a new report.Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC) new report, entitled ‘Brexit and the Impact on Construction in the UK’, concluded that the UK construction industry growth is expected to fall from 3.4% to 2.8% this year.The findings reveal the great deal of uncertainty as to what the full implications of Brexit are for the UK’s construction industry.Danny Richards, leading economist at CIC, recognizes that the industry growth started being affected during the EU referendum campaign.“Construction output growth had already started to slow ahead of the referendum, in fact output was down by 1.9% in the first quarter on a year-on-year basis, and the uncertainty that will prevail in the coming months following the referendum suggests that investment flowing into new projects will slowdown, and some works could be put on hold,” he said.Furthermore, the pace of growth in the UK construction industry in 2017 is expected to slow from 4% to 1.5% — reflecting a sharp downturn in investment as the government embarks on a two-year process of negotiating its exit from the single market.“The downwards revisions to our growth forecasts for construction output mean that the UK’s construction industry’s output in 2017 will be £4.8bn lower than what it would have been had the outcome of the referendum been in favour of the ‘remain’ campaign,” said Richards.
Waking up at 5.30am, spending two hours travelling to the construction site, starting work around 8am — regardless of the weather conditions — finishing the workday at 4pm and travelling back home for two hours, is the routine of construction worker Ben Grant.Grant lives in Bournemouth, but works in London. The 23-year-old turned down a warehouse career to follow one in the construction industry. “I like working in construction, because you can see the progress you are making. At the end of the day you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished, because it’s just right in front of you,” says Grant.Even though working in construction can be personally rewarding, a high demand for workers has been reported by the UK construction industry in recent months and years. “There is definitely a high demand for more construction workers. I am aware that the company we are subcontracted to is needing at least 100 more workers at the moment and I can only imagine that this is a problem throughout lots of [construction] companies,” says Grant.A survey of construction recruitment firms, recently released by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) — a membership and professional body for the UK recruitment industry — highlighted that demand.The survey also concluded that 69% of the construction recruitment agencies surveyed believe that the shortage of bricklayers, labourers and other tradesmen constitutes the first or second most significant risk to their businesses.Kate Shoesmith, REC’s head of policy, says: “One of the things that comes up time and time again [in the survey] is that in the construction industry there is a high demand [for workers] and some of the roles are really difficult to fill and to find people with the appropriate skills. “They [recruitment agencies] are saying that it is really difficult to find bricklayers, scaffolders and estimators for the temporary construction jobs. If you look at the engineering side, they are talking about high ways engineers and structural engineers. If you look at the permanent jobs, where it’s difficult to find people in construction, they are saying that it’s very difficult to find architects right now.”Bespoke Recruitment Ltd has been supplying construction workers to the sector since 2001 and has been feeling the pressure. “We have a skill shortage at the moment in construction and we are struggling. We have demand for construction workers,” says Simon Noakes, co-founder and director of Bespoke Recruitment Ltd.Meanwhile, the Chartered Institute of Building this week promoted the concept of former servicemen and women from the Armed Forces joining the construction industry, ahead of the UK Armed Forces Day on June 25.The recessionThe UK construction sector has come a long way since the global recession in late 2007, which saw a reduction in construction projects and consequently a reduction in construction jobs across the sector. In recent years, the sector has been picking up the pace — as can be witnessed in London by looking at the skyline and the number of cranes and construction sites active in the city.The latest employment data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) corroborates this scenario. According to the ONS, the construction sector was the second biggest job creator in 2015, accounting for 25% of job growth that year. And, construction output has risen 2.5% in April 2016 — the biggest monthly increase since January 2014 —slowing down now only due to the EU Referendum and the uncertainty it brings with it.The industry has a number of jobs to offer, but simply no people to fill them. “There are lots of opportunities in construction at the moment and we cannot fill these roles,” says Noakes.“We have no pipeline of talent coming through the industry, so we don’t see many 18- or 21-year-olds going to college learning to be a plumber or a bricklayer.” Despite the recession starting almost ten years ago, parts of the construction sector are still paying the price of a shortage of workers.Shoesmith at REC says: “The global recession affected the UK market particularly deeply.“There were a number of people working in the industry who, when the jobs stopped coming, [started] thinking about whether they would continue to work as labourers. There were an awful lot of building projects that just stopped and there was no more commissioning of new building projects in the UK. When the jobs started to dry up they left the industry.”Misperception and lack of informationAdding to this, Clive Turner, research manager of NHBC Foundation — the research arm of NHBC, the UK’s leading home warranty and insurance provider — believes that there is still a misperception and lack of information not only about the industry, but also about the jobs it offers. “There is a perception about house building having a bad reputation in terms of what it offers. People don’t see it offering a career progression,” says Turner.“What we fear is that people don’t see the progression opportunities. They would like it to be a worthwhile job, but they are not sure it is, and I think they don’t always see that what you do can be extremely rewarding. “If you don’t realise [that] there is a career path that you can follow you will be forever thinking this could be a dead end job for anybody. There’s nothing worse than that.”A recent study by NHBC Foundation concluded that nearly 50% of parents are not doing enough to encourage their children to pursue a career in the construction industry, specifically in the house-building sector. “[It is] quiet a serious concern and we need to do more to encourage parents to be aware of what house building can offer,” says Turner.“There is a disparity between what house building can offer and what is actually offered to young people through their parents or career advisers. “The issue is the absence of a suitable level of information and guidance on what are a range of very interesting jobs.”Possible solutionsOne way of addressing this issue is attracting and captivating young people into the industry. “We need to think about recruitment and retention strategies, we need to see more investment in things like apprenticeships, that used to be a really golden route for entering the jobs market in construction,” says Shoesmith. “It was a highly credible route. “We need to see more government support for that. We obviously need to think about how we give career advices to young people before they are even thinking about the job options. “Do young people know that there are really good careers to be having in the construction industry? Are they aware of all the opportunities for them?”Other way of engaging young people into the construction sector is offering them a wide range of work experience opportunities while they are still of school age, because — according to Shoesmith — “it’s only by seeing what is like to work in the industry that you can actually visualise yourself there and see whether is something that is right for you”.The Crossrail project has addressed the shortage of skills in the UK construction industry by setting up an academy, where they have trained 20,000 people to develop tunneling and construction skills. They have already had 550 apprentices go through the system.Initiatives such as this can help to encourage workers to join the construction industry — as may the wage rise that has taken place across the sector.The latest employment data released by the ONS shows a 7.5% year-on-year increase in wages in the construction sector.“There are obviously huge rewards there, because the pay is increasing in this sector as the skills supply gets worse,” says Shoesmith.REC’s survey also concluded that some bricklayers are taking home £1,000 ($1,470) a week. Kevin Green, REC’s chief executive, says: “If you work in construction you can expect to be earning £34 a week more than last year, and our data indicates that some employers are increasing pay faster as the competition for skilled workers intensifies.” Expected to attract a wide range of people into the industry, Bespoke Recruitment Ltd is following this trend: through the agency a bricklayer is paid £180–£200 a day and a labourer £8.50–£9 an hour.
A survey of UK construction recruitment firms has highlighted the shortage of construction workers and resultant high wages, with some bricklayers taking home £1,000 a week.
Construction experts remain optimistic in the strength of the industry, according to a new report, despite the first quarter of 2016 being marked by a decline in confidence levels.Timetric’s Construction Confidence Report concluded that the industry’s current confidence levels have declined from 61.5 points in Q4 2015 to 61.2 points in Q1 2016, following a downward trend that started in 2014.Even though this is the fifth successive quarter of decline, the score remains above the 50-point mark which indicates a positive outlook regarding growth prospects — and the industry is optimistic regarding growth expectations for the next six months.Danny Richards, leading economist at Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center (CIC), recognises the positive findings, but states that the decline has had an impact in construction companies. “Although still optimistic over the potential for growth, the decline in the Current Confidence Index suggests that the level of optimism is weakening, and that it is becoming more challenging to win contracts,” he said.<iframe src="https://timetric.com/c/MBEPE5U/chart/" style="width:500px;height:350px;border:0;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe>
A new report from Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center has identified four national markets as key growth regions for the construction industry to 2020.
The state government of Victoria, Australia has allocated $1.46bn in 2016 state budget towards the completion of the Western Distributor project.With no funding from the Commonwealth Government, Victoria will undertake the $5.5bn project on its own.The project will provide a second river crossing connecting the West Gate Freeway with Citylink, cut travel times, reduce congestion and improve the living conditions in Geelong and Melbourne's West.The expected reduction in congestion in Melbourne's West will help lower the cost of doing business and enable workers to access job locations easily. It is anticipated that about 5,600 jobs will be created during the project's construction phase.Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews decision to set aside $1.46bn over four years to complete the project has been welcomed by the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for whom the progression of the project is a priority.
The construction unit of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has won contracts worth INR22.71bn ($343.1m) across its various businesses.L&T's buildings and factories business has secured a turnkey contract valued at INR15bn ($226.6m) to build a mixed-used development in New Delhi.The contract will include the construction of a convention centre, a business centre tower and two hotel towers as part of the overall development. L&T's scope of work will also involve civil, structural, architectural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and finishing works.L&T has also won an INR4.5bn ($68m) contract for the expansion of Hyderabad's Air Force Academy. The project will include the extension of the main runway and parallel taxi track, widening of tracks, earth filling and allied works.The company’s power transmission and distribution business has secured new orders worth INR3.21bn ($48.4m) in both the domestic and international markets. On the domestic front, the company has received an EPC order for 765kV double circuit Bhuj Banaskanta transmission line (part-1) from Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, which is associated with Green Energy Corridor.In the overseas sector, L&T has won a contract from Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) for the engineering, procurement and construction of 500kV Transmission Line for Thai/Laos Border Crossing.
Global construction output will reach US$10 trillion by 2020, driven by Asia-Pacific and emerging markets, according to a new report from Timetric’s Construction Intelligence Center.The Global Construction Outlook 2020 report forecasts that expansion will increase by an annual average of 3.4% from 2015 to 2020, leading to the overall market value growing from $8.5tr to $10tr. In the previous five years annual average growth was 2.4%, with output increasing from the 2010 total of $7.5tr.Emerging markets will account for more than half of the global construction output in 2020, rising to 51.9% from its 43.9% share in 2010, despite the annual average rate of growth slowing to 4.2%, from 5.2% in 2011-2015.Growth in the Asia-Pacific region is set to slow, due in part to the slowdown in China’s construction sector, exacerbated by a glut of new residential property being completed. However, the region will still account for the largest share of the global construction industry, with South-East Asia investing heavily in new infrastructure projects funded by private investment.Western European markets will continue to recover, the report states, although investor confidence is fragile due to ongoing troubles in the Eurozone, and the crisis involving Russia and Ukraine. The German construction industry will remain slow, due partly to the government’s focus on austerity.
The analysts at Timetric's Construction Intelligence Center look forward to what the construction industry across the world can expect in 2016.