Is it really as bad as they would have us believe?

6 September 2012 | By Catherine Wheatcroft

With construction projects going on all around us – I have to question the gloomy reports and claims that construction sector activity is falling at the fastest pace since the height of the 2008 financial crisis.

The reports indicate that new orders for the construction industry have slumped again, with the Markit/CIPS construction PMI having dropped to 49.0 in August from 50.9 in July, the lowest reading since June (The Telegraph news 4 Sept, Economics). It may well be so, that the industry in general is seen widely as struggling, but individual sectors continue to show encouraging signs and businesses large and small are still winning contracts and showing signs of having good activity levels overall.

Firms will be hoping for increased business opportunities as we head towards the last quarter of 2012. Underneath the doom and gloom, there are encouraging indicators that things are improving, if indeed the problem is as deep as reports are making out. For example, HE Simm has won £13m worth of contracts for its student accommodation division, there is a £4.5m awarded deal for the London sustainable industries park. With the government announcing new proposals to kick-start housing and infrastructure including new capital funding for affordable homes and scrapping planning conditions, the future should be looking brighter even for those smaller providers in the industry.

Businesses can hopefully look to a more positive outlook for new contract wins, assuming that the negative doom and gloom can be ignored. Maybe the focus of all these negative reports should lean more towards how such a critical, job providing industry can learn lessons from previous work and move forward more positively to retain more profits and improve best practice.