Learn About the Latest News on How Female Builders Solve Talent Gap, Q4 2023 Construction Project Starts Grow 4%, December UK Building Slowdown Eases, and Bad Weather and Rising Construction Costs Hit UK Economy

In today’s news we will look into the increasing number of women working in construction will help to address the scarcity of skilled workers. The construction industry, on the other hand, has a 4% increase in the number of project starts during the fourth quarter of 2023. Further, the downturn in the building sector in the United Kingdom eases in December. Furthermore, the United Kingdom is struggling to cope with the economic impact of severe weather and rising construction costs.

How More Female Builders will Solve Talent Gap

Original source: How more women in construction will fix skill shortage

An extraordinary skills shortage is affecting the UK construction industry, a key economic driver.

Catherine Storer, ESS Executive Director and WICA contender, thinks labor diversification is key.

Storer observes that an ageing workforce contributes to the shortage of experienced professionals, saying: “Diversifying the workforce is a valuable strategy for addressing these challenges, [bringing in] various perspectives, skills and experiences, which can contribute to innovation, increased productivity and a more resilient workforce.”

After 10 years, ESS has taught over 8,500 women, but Storer believes more is needed. The newest Construction Skills Network (CSN) report predicts that 225,000 more construction workers will be needed by 2027 as almost 60% of companies struggle to locate the skills they require.

Being what you can’t see

Storer has company. Core Recruiter Ltd. owner and director Kelly Cartwright says, “A push for diversification in the construction industry is crucial.”

Cartwright, one of the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Construction for 2022 and 2023, believes “You Can’t Be What You Can’t See” and pushes to close the gender gap in construction.

She says, “Diversifying the workforce in the construction industry can [bring] in a broader range of skills, perspectives, and ideas – helping address current skill shortages by tapping into a more diverse talent pool.”

Teamwork and Diversity

Construction has generally been male-dominated. However, studies demonstrate that diverse teams outperform homogenous ones due to their fresh perspectives, inventive ideas, and wider skill set.

Storer said inviting all “is a key component of a broader strategy to address the challenges facing the construction industry.”

Only 15% of UK construction workers are women, according to the ONS. This underrepresentation shows deep-seated social biases. Undoubtedly, women in construction have untapped potential.

Storer says, “Women in the construction industry bring valuable contributions through their diverse perspectives, experiences, and problem-solving approaches.” This diversity of thinking drives innovation.

Storer has seen how her female colleagues’ outstanding interpersonal skills improve team communication and collaboration over her 20 years in the sector.

“These skills improve teamwork and client, subcontractor, and stakeholder relations, improving project outcomes.”

Obstacles for Women in Construction

Despite these clear benefits, gender diversity is lacking in practically every field. Storer thinks this is because people think the industry is inaccessible and underpaid.

Some people may think construction jobs are inaccessible or only for those with a history in the field. While entry-level roles may have lower compensation, competent craftsmen and experienced professionals can earn competitive salaries.”

Another hurdle for women is a lack of building industry professional expertise, says Storer. This lack of understanding about construction options and pathways can deter women from studying construction.

Cartwright lists physical difficulties, job progression, and gender preconceptions as fallacies that deter women from the business.

According to her, individuals face many obstacles when seeking upskilling or education in construction. Colleges and training firms help diversify and close the construction gender gap.

Mentorship and Training

One such company is ESS, which provides industry upskilling and training. Our organization strives to diversify the construction industry and personnel, says Storer.

We recognize the significant impact diversity has on innovation, creativity, and performance in our sector. We believe that embracing diversity will create a more resilient and dynamic team better suited to navigate the changing construction industry.”

Storer feels that training businesses like ESS will lead this workforce change and that “companies have a responsibility to provide upskilling opportunities in construction.”

These opportunities reduce barriers for women, enabling their success in the sector. We encourage more women to enter these industries by actively showcasing successful female professionals as role models.

Cartwright offers mentorship programs for newcomers and networking events to assist women feel comfortable and make professional contacts.

These efforts level the playing field, giving women equal access to resources and assistance they need to succeed.

According to Storer, including women in building curriculum creation improves inclusion. “ESS strives to make all employees feel valued, respected, and given equal opportunities for growth and advancement.

By providing fair career advancement possibilities and displaying successful individuals from varied backgrounds, construction companies can build a resilient workforce that matches the population.

Q4 2023 Construction Project Starts Grow 4%.

Original Source: Construction sector sees 4% rise in project starts during Q4 2023

The Glenigan January 2024 building Index shows a revival in project starts and private home building.

Construction project values declined due to seasonal variables in the fourth quarter of 2023, but after correcting for these, they rose 4%.

Private residential construction improved and boosted residential growth by 14%.

Overall project starts were 20% lower than last year despite residential sector optimism.

Most non-residential projects started a third less than last year.

Seasonality hindered Q4 on-site work.

Allan Wilen, Glenigan’s economic director, said seasonal reasons delayed on-site activity in the fourth quarter.

After accounting for Christmas, starts rose modestly in these three months. A little increase in private home developments suggests developers are feeling more confident in the New Year.

The sustained weakening of non-residential and civil engineering project starts was less reassuring. This means building will face tough times soon.

“March’s Spring Budget will be eagerly awaited. After the pullback on HS2 plans last year, many contractors would want the Government, especially in an election year, to clarify or update on the significant infrastructure projects put forward in 2023 as part of a wider package to kick-start activity.

Private housing rose 19% from the previous quarter.

Residential construction starts rose 14% in Q4 2023 but were 8% lower than a year earlier.

Private housing rose 19% from the previous quarter but down 9% from 2022.

Social housing fell 2% in Q4 and 5% year-over-year.

Industrial and office projects fell 48% year-over-year.

Mixed results for non-residential construction.

Retail starts rose 20% and community and amenity projects 6% in Q4, a great performance.

However, industrial and office developments fell 48% year-over-year. Education and health projects also failed.

Project starts in London rose 29% in Q4 2023.

London led regionally with 29% more project starts in Q4 despite an 11% drop from 2022.

The South East grew 16% from the previous quarter but fell 29% from 2022.

The West Midlands and North East did well, but the East of England fell 11% in Q4 and 32% year-over-year.

Northern Ireland and the East Midlands saw major project start decreases.

December UK Building Slowdown Eases

Original Source: UK construction sector downturn eases in December

According to a Friday survey, UK construction fell less in December.

As the house building sector continues to decline, the S&P Global construction purchasing managers’ index fell to 46.8 for the fourth month in a row.

Although housebuilding remained the weakest category, its index rose to 41.1 from 39.2 in November, slowing the rate of decrease to its slowest since July 2023. Meanwhile, the civil engineering activity index was 47.0, indicating a slower downturn.

Commercial building fell slightly to 47.6 in December from 48.1, although the fall accelerated to its quickest since January 2021. Some firms claimed consumers were more cautious due to domestic economic concerns and high borrowing prices.

S&P Global Market Intelligence economics director Tim Moore said: “Weak order books prevented construction companies from replacing completed projects, causing another business decline in 2023. House building was the worst-performing construction sector, but there were hints of a recovery.

“In the second half of 2023, rising borrowing rates and waning market confidence drove construction sales down. Survey respondents also expressed concerns about the UK economy, particularly commercial construction.

Expectations of falling interest rates in the coming months have boosted construction company confidence. December statistics showed that 41% of construction firms expect business activity to improve in 2024, while 17% expect it to fall. It contrasted with negative attitude a year earlier.”

Capital Economics: “Higher finance costs and capital value worries will put developers on the sidelines for the next few months, limiting construction activity. Capital values are near a trough and the bank of England will reduce in June, thus construction will rebound gradually over H2 2024.”

Bad Weather and Rising Construction Costs Hit UK Economy

Original Source: UK Grapples with Economic Impact of Severe Weather and Rising Construction Costs

The UK has been plagued by extreme weather for a year. From Storms Babet, Ciaran, and Debi to Elin, Fergus, Gerrit, and Henk, the nation has seen unparalleled stormy weather. These storms have cost insurance firms an estimated $560 million to compensate victims.

Construction Costs and Shortages Rise

Construction is struggling with rising material and gasoline prices due to the storms. The scaffolding sector has suffered. A global supply-demand imbalance drove softwood timber prices to 113% in 2021. Steel prices have risen due to inflation and electricity expenses. A shocking 25% of scaffolding firms have declined work due to material shortages due to economic concerns.

The Economic Impact of Storms

Storms cause physical destruction and economic devastation. Insurance prices and construction strains show this. The UK insurance industry paid out 560 million to victims of recent disasters.

Severe Weather’s Global Impact

Other parts of the world have been experiencing severe weather while the UK struggles. Families in Greater Manchester, Australia, are still recovering after a tornado that damaged their homes. Nottinghamshire has declared a serious flood incident and advised locals to evacuate. Extreme cold, strong winds, and snow have left thousands without power in Nordic countries and many stranded on jammed highways across Europe.

Summary of today’s construction news

Overall, we discussed about one of the main engines of the UK economy, the construction industry, is feeling the effects of a severe lack of skilled workers.

 Diversifying the workforce is crucial, according to Catherine Storer, executive director of ESS and a candidate for WICA. At the same time, private home construction and building starts have shown signs of life again in the January 2024 building index from Glenigan. After adjusting for seasonal factors, the values of construction projects increased by 4% in the fourth quarter of 2023, despite a fall in the first quarter caused by same factors. On top of that, companies in the construction industry are more optimistic now that interest rates are expected to reduce in the near future. According to data collected in December, 41% of construction companies anticipate an upturn in commercial activity in 2024, while 17% predict a decline. After a year of pessimism, it was a welcome change. Further, severe weather has been a recurring problem in the UK for the past 12 months. The country has witnessed unprecedented stormy weather, with names like Babet, Ciaran, Debi, Elin, Fergus, Gerrit, and Henk. Insurance companies have paid out about $560 million to victims of these hurricanes.

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