Growing Confidence in Construction in the North East
Alongside the recent increases in construction projects for the leisure and retail markets, as well as large regeneration projects in some city centre areas, new student living projects have been providing much income into the recovering industry.
Local construction companies support major projects
Construction companies in the North East have played a vital role in the success of many major and well-respected projects. One of the most notable being the regeneration of prime city centre space the Stephenson Quarter, in Newcastle upon Tyne.
On completion, the Stephenson Quarter project hopes to create 2000 new jobs and contribute an additional £100m per year to the regional economy, so it’s an eagerly anticipated venture. Phase one – the construction of the new Crowne Plaza Hotel and The Rocket Office – has been completed thanks to local construction companies.
The construction contracts market remains extremely competitive and this, combined with the confidence being placed in the North East’s construction sector thanks to the success of current projects, means there is a strong pipeline of upcoming opportunities.
Concerns over continued growth
However, Tim Bailey, of Newcastle’s xsite architecture and a board member of RIBA in London, is still erring on the side of caution, keen not to build anticipation of a construction boom before the sector is fully prepared for it.
It’s essential to remember that of the new construction contracts being dished up nationwide, 25-30% of these are London-based. The remaining contracts are being shared around the country and so the success in the North East is relative to that of the rest of the UK.
Although previously stalled projects have now become deliverable and are progressing well, the industry is still very much fragile and recovering. Any slight problem in supply or progression could destroy the budding confidence and bring the burgeoning sector back down to earth with a bump.
For example, the initial budgets and prices put on projects that stalled during the recession are no longer viable. Since recovery began, prices for everything (including materials, land and labour) have increased, and now even previously generous budgets are much too tight to finance projects.
Skills shortage could threaten recovery
One of the biggest anticipated issues still to overcome will be the skills shortage. Many believe it’s a problem that the sector has not yet experienced the full impact of and so investments are needed to properly prepare for what will hopefully be another prosperous year.
Training companies specialising in providing training to the construction industry, such as the team here at Health and Safety Training Ltd, are on hand to assist.
Alongside traditional training courses designed to enhance the skills of workers on site, such as mobile plant and forklift training, as well as more specialised courses for vehicle banksman, scaffolders and risk assessors, Health and Safety Training Ltd are now offering a range of apprenticeship programmes designed to introduce more workers to the construction industry.
Apprentices will be prepared with a range of practical working skills and certifications that will help to expand the industry’s workforce throughout the North East.Finding new construction recruits in unusual places Why is Construction one of the Most Dangerous Jobs in the UK?