It wouldn’t be the festive season without some good old horizon scanning, would it? Not wanting to buck the trend, we’ve dusted off the crystal ball and jotted down what we think everyone will be talking about next year.
Read on (or watch the video) for just five construction industry trend predictions for 2018.
1. Fire safety and building regulations
Post-Grenfell, it’s no surprise that there’s going to be enormous focus on fire safety in 2018. But I don’t think the focus will be exclusively on fire safety. We can certainly expect some changes to building regulations and to the way in which buildings are checked and the whole system of building control, particularly in England and Wales.[Postscript: Yes, it’s happening already – the Hackitt Inquiry’s interim report came out today, and it’s calling for fundamental changes to regulation and culture. “The regulatory system is not fit for purpose.” Both shaming and energising in equal measure, this report sets the tone for not just 2018 but for many years to come.
2. Construction product marketing
There’s going to be another impact from Grenfell which is on the whole issue of product marketing. So, in particular you need to think about what sort of claims you make about construction products. There’s going to be a lot of scrutiny around the robustness of product testing, and really the transparency of claims around proof of performance. You should be asking, “Do our products actually perform the way we claim they will?”[See above]
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3. Offsite, skills and training
Offsite construction is going to be huge in 2018. And so is the whole issue of skills and training – it’s been a big issue for a long time, so it’s no great surprise. There’s a lot of interest from government and in the media about how you recruit and how you train and retain talent within the industry. So those are the things you should be talking about throughout next year.[Postscript: Diversity links very closely to the skills and training agenda. More on this to come…]
4. UK Industrial Strategy
If you look at the Industrial Strategy white paper you can already begin to see some of the key buzzwords and themes for construction in 2018. It’s talking about things like the more efficient construction of assets; economic gain through greater productivity; and about exports to a global infrastructure market. These are some of the big topics to talk about next year.
5. Housing, infrastructure and domestic repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI)
Housing and infrastructure remain the big ‘sexy’ sectors again next year. But also keep an eye on the domestic retrofit sector. It’s so often overlooked, but there’s some really interesting developments happening through the Each Home Counts review.* That’s all about consumer protection for home energy efficiency improvements, renewable energy measures and the broader home improvements market. If you’re involved in the domestic sector, keep a special eye out for that one next year.[*Just to add, for transparency’s sake, that Liz is a member of the Each Home Counts implementation board.]