In today’s UK Construction news, we will look into the Collaboration between CIOB and Bluebeam, Bluebeam and CIOB promote building software. In the meantime, Construction Sector Must Embrace Technology to Avoid Threat of Insolvency. Additionally, Construction-starts fell significantly despite rise in planning approvals. In addition, UK probes cut-price Chinese excavator import claims. In addition, Construction-starts fell significantly despite rise in planning approvals.
CIOB-Bluebeam Collaborate Bluebeam and CIOB promote Building Software
Bluebeam and the Chartered Institute of Building wrote a step-by-step guide to help SMEs implement construction software.
The UK government’s Insolvency Service reported almost 4,200 construction company bankruptcies last year, making it the worst-performing sector. SMEs are most exposed to fluctuating labor, materials, and energy costs.
SMEs are more susceptible to consumer demand and typically wait a long time for payment from higher-ups in the supply chain, which explains why their company failures are at a 10-year high.
How construction software helps
James Chambers, head of worldwide industry development for Nemetschek’s Build and Construct Division, says SMEs must work smarter to survive.
Construction software has been more popular in recent years, he says. Despite the pandemic’s impact, funding has continued.
Many more alternatives for all business sizes are available than a few years ago. Years ago, people thought digitalization was unattainable due to solution costs and implementation issues.
“Now, solutions are more accessible, and many companies realize they can improve margins and project outcomes without breaking the bank.”
Software-driven construction business transformation
Chambers said these techniques can revolutionize firms regardless of implementation. However, he advises organizations to create a clear use case before investing in software, considering project and operational demands.
“Understanding how people work, the tools available, and the key improvements you want to achieve increases the likelihood of choosing and implementing the right software.
“Whether taking small steps, using software to address individual issues, or a complete overhaul, businesses can find solutions.”
He said construction software startups want to better financial management, de-risk projects, and boost collaboration.
All are helpful, but he prioritizes financial ones.
“Tools can easily monitor cashflow and flag danger areas like late payments or cost increases,” he explains.
“Cash is king, so removing analogue processes and improving data capture and analysis will benefit business owners and senior teams.”
Bring people together to reduce risk.
According to Chambers, good communication tools should follow finance: Project team-client communication can reduce errors and save money on rework and delays.
Software can also help. Recording customer needs. A standardized workflow helps the project team understand and communicate customer expectations and outcomes. This reduces project surprises.
Real-time collaboration on documents is possible using cloud-based technologies, whether on-site or in an office. With real-time design changes and updates, you’re always one click away from project updates.
Bluebeam and CIOB share guidance
Bluebeam and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) wrote Digital Transformation for SMEs: Unlocking the Benefits, a technical guide to help SMEs embrace construction software.
It describes how to implement technology, including where software can improve or replace procedures, selecting the best option, and launching new software tools.
Case studies from SME contractors who adopted new software solutions and saw tremendous business gains are included.
Chambers advises startups to use simple technologies to bring people together and generate results rapidly.
It is crucial to obtain a strong return on investment and share those wins internally. This aids acceptance, prepares for future enhancements, and maximises software benefits.
By helping individuals be more productive and providing accurate, up-to-date information, organizations may increase their performance and become more robust and futureproof.”
To Avoid Bankruptcy, Construction Must Adopt Technology
Construction enterprises can reduce economic pressures by overhauling laborious and time-consuming credit control systems.
The UK building industry needs “sustained periods of economic growth” to succeed. However, mounting insolvencies reflect years of political and economic uncertainty that have hurt the sector.
The fastest rate of UK construction firm insolvency in over a decade is reported. The construction business also has a late payment culture. In 2022, over half of enterprises were paid late, increasing cash flow risks.
The latest technology can help construction enterprises maintain cash flow during these tough times.
Know-it CEO and founder Lynne Darcey Quigley says:
“If government support isn’t forthcoming, our construction industry needs technology solutions to navigate these tough conditions.
Overhauling laborious and time-consuming credit control methods can help construction enterprises reduce economic stress. As material and labor costs rise, major and SMEs in the sector face multiple pressures.
To stop leaks, organizations must first manage cash flow. Modern solutions automate and eliminate human mistake. Manual credit control involves a finance professional searching ledgers for credit and debtor amounts. Human mistake is inevitable, and manual processes might lose cash.
“Embracing technology helps construction firms avoid insolvency. In tough economic times, investing in infrastructure can be challenging. Automating credit control and eliminating costly human error will eliminate cash flow errors for organizations.
“Delivering construction services is expensive, and clients who don’t pay within 30 days strain balance sheets. Automated credit control lets organizations credit check, chase, and recover overdue payments from one platform, unlike conventional operations. Without automation, late payments can go unnoticed for too long, permanently affecting cash flow.
The mounting insolvencies in the UK construction sector should alarm the government. The help firms need to cross the other side is lacking.
Technology is the next best answer for construction enterprises facing the late payment challenge. Firms failing to safeguard cash flow and collect late payments may need automated solutions to survive or lose another operator.
UK Investigates Cheap Chinese Excavator Imports
Original Source: UK probes cut-price Chinese excavator import claims
The government is investigating the ‘dumping’ of subsidised Chinese excavators in the UK.
After complaints, the Trade Remedies Authority, a government agency that defends UK interests against unfair foreign trade practices, initiated anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese imports of tracked excavators of at least 11 tonnes.
International trade defines dumping as exporting a product at a cheaper price in the foreign importing market than in the exporter’s local market.
UK excavator company JCB argues that substantially state-subsidized Chinese manufacturers are targeting the UK market with cheap excavators.
Following complaints from European vendors, the European Commission began investigating Chinese-imported mobile access devices last week. They say low-cost or dumped imports hurt area industries.
The TRA probe was welcomed by JCB. Graeme Macdonald, its CEO, said: “There is clear evidence of unfair competitive practices in relation to aggressive, and subsidised, pricing of tracked excavators imported from China.”
Macdonald said, “We want to see a swift and clear resolution to this urgent matter so that a competitive level playing field is restored for all UK-based manufacturers who invest heavily in world-leading product development.”
Despite Rising Planning Approvals, Construction Starts Declined Dramatically
Glenigan Construction Review Report shows that construction starts declined considerably in the three months to October despite a rise in planning approvals.
The data shows mediocre construction-start performance over the past year as the industry navigates a challenging economy.
Project starts, which averaged £5,541 million per month, fell 27% from the previous three months and 59% from a year earlier.
Main contract awards fell 27% before November and 51% from 2022.
In the three months to October, detailed planning approvals rose 1%, up 17% from the previous year.
Glenigan is a top UK construction insight and intelligence expert.
Today (20 November), it released its November 2023 Construction Review report for the three months to October 2023.
This includes all large (>£100m) and underlying (<£100m) projects, with seasonally adjusted numbers.
It indicated that residential starts-on-site declined 23% in the three months to October, 30% lower than a year earlier.
Private housing fell 25% year-over-year and 22% in the prior three months.
Work on-site in social housing fell 30% in the three months to October and 46% from the previous year.
Starting values declined across all non-residential sectors in the three months to October, according to the report.
Industrial output fell 32% in the three months to October, 57% below last year.
For retail, project-starts fell 3% from the previous three months and 36% from the previous year.
Underlying office starts fell 8% from the previous three months to 39% below 2022 norms.
In the three months to October, most of the UK had poor project-start performance.
Project-starts fell 27% in the three months to October and 43% year-over-year in the West Midlands.
In London, project-starts fell 19% from the previous three months and 36% from the previous year.
The South West (-7%) and South East (-25%) likewise performed poorly, falling 29% and 25% from the year before.
East Midlands project-starts declined 22% from the previous three months and 44% from a year earlier.
North East and East of England saw 31% and 34% declines, respectively, 21% and 31% below previous year.
Northern Ireland and Wales project starts fell 45% and 21% from the previous three months and 52% and 23% from a year earlier.
Scotland fell 38% from the previous year and 2% over the preceding three months.
Yorkshire and the Humber and the North West saw project starts dip over the previous three months and year.
Glenigan economic director Allan Wilen said: “This underwhelming performance is symptomatic of several external constraints on the UK construction industry. Most private sector activity is down due to high interest rates and a slow economy, which lowers consumer and investment confidence.
Our latest Construction Forecast predicts 8% growth in starts in 2024, indicating industry recovery. Additionally, the recent increase in planning approvals may offer agile contractors several opportunities in the next years.
Summary of today’s construction news
Overall, we discussed Bluebeam and the Chartered Institute of Building collaborated to create a manual for small and medium-sized businesses to use when introducing construction software. Meanwhile, Construction businesses might ease economic strain by modernizing their credit control procedures. There needs to be “sustained periods of economic growth” for the construction industry in the UK to thrive. However, growing insolvencies reflect years of political and economic uncertainty that have damaged the sector. The ‘dumping’ of subsidized Chinese excavators in the UK is also being looked into by the authorities. UK trade protection agency Trade Remedies Authority received complaints about Chinese imports of tracked excavators weighing more than 11 tons and promptly opened anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations. Even though there was an increase in planning permissions, the number of construction starts plummeted in the three months leading up to October, as reported by the Glenigan Construction Review Report. The construction industry has been struggling for the past year, and these numbers reveal that building starts have been about average.