Thursday 11th May 2023

The impact of current planning challenges on the construction industry

It's no secret that everyone has a passionate voice when it comes to 'planning and development' in the UK. The lockdown periods between 2020 - 2022 put pressure on a system that was already under severe pressure. Coming out of 2022 and into 2023, we're seeing and experiencing first-hand the significant impact that the current planning challenges and delays are on the construction industry.

The delays are mostly due to the lengthy and complicated planning process, leading to uncertainty and difficulties in the development of projects. This can lead to higher costs and longer lead times, which makes projects less financially viable for developers, investors and many trades.

Instability of materials

One particular challenge faced by many trades and contractors is the instability of the materials market. In the past, companies would be able to price for a project due to start in 18-24 months confidently. However, the fluctuating and rapidly increasing rates of materials make this a difficult task. For trades and contractors with integrity, the challenge is presenting this to clients. The current volatility has paved the way for many companies to price low to win a project. Whether those companies can deliver or will even be around by the time the project commences is another question, adding further complication and rippling impact on the industry.

The challenges in the planning process in securing planning permission are having a significant impact on the construction industry, with projects being delayed or cancelled altogether. This is leading to lost revenue and opportunities for developers and construction companies, as well as lost jobs and economic growth for the wider community.

Skilled labour shortage

Another challenge many face in the UK construction industry is the shortage of skilled labour. Many skilled workers have left the industry due to the uncertainty and current challenges the industry is facing. In addition, the industry is not seeing the volume of young people choosing careers on development sites as it used to. As a result, there is a smaller pool of experienced and new entrants within the industry. This has led to higher costs and longer lead times for projects, as well as a lack of innovation and productivity in the industry.

Addressing the planning challenges and the construction industry

To address these challenges, there needs to be a more streamlined and efficient planning process, as well as greater availability of land for development. There also needs to be a greater focus on training and education for skilled workers, as well as greater investment in research and development to drive innovation and productivity in the industry.

As a company that has been in the industry for many years, we're continuing to train and upskill our teams, as well as creating a culture and company that our team are proud to work for. Beyond our sites and offices, we're having conversations like those detailed in this article with industry leaders, local MPs and colleagues.

There is so much opportunity in the UK and within the construction industry. We're excited by the challenges ahead and are committed to looking ahead optimistically as to how the industry will evolve to counter the current challenges.

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