As one of the largest sectors in the UK, the construction industry employs over 2.5 million people. Its success acts as a bellwether for activity in the UK economy, but like many sectors the current extraordinary circumstances have left it reeling.
The development industry can play a huge part in getting construction activity back on its feet and to drive economic activity.
Many businesses are now considering recovery plans to pull strategies together and avoid any further downtime. Once government restrictions ease and workers are allowed to return to sites, priorities will turn to how to complete unfinished projects. What this crisis has emphasised is the importance of community and collaboration. Developers, occupiers and contractors need to re-engage with a positive mind-set to resolve circumstances that have never been known before rather than an opportunity to renegotiate or profit .
Collaboration between public and private sectors has already been identified as being of paramount importance to drive successful development, but the way that this marriage can work best involves a simplification of the development process and using the skills and drive of both public and private sectors, backed up by strong consultancy expertise. Long term private sector patient capital can help fill the void and undoubted pressures that public sector finances will be feeling .
It’s a known view that that the up front development process takes too long, it’s costly but successful development can be achieved through simplification and teamwork between all parties. It too easy to view development as risky now we move into choppy waters. The way we can help tackle this and avoid any further consequences to our economy is to work together, increase collaboration and the speed of products to market – in addition to much needed simplification of the construction industry to provide more certainty for Investors. Now is the opportunity to make a change for the better rather than revert to the days of old, we know the implications and have the opportunity to learn, make a change and do better. We’re already seeing signs of this with planning considerations to rethink local engagement and amendments to the Town and Country Planning Order 2020.
Supporting development and the construction industry will be a factor for economic recovery and a renewed hope for our much loved towns and cities.