After a surprise 2016, we need to continue to expect the unexpected for 2017!
As we sat down to discuss our Christmas message, we reminded ourselves of some of the predictions for 2016. They mostly comprise of benign and gentle prophecies such as the likelihood of a skilled labour shortage, the increasing necessity for BIM and the re-emergence of the green agenda in the commercial sector through the rising profile of the WELL standard.
Unsurprisingly, we couldn’t find any references to our close friends across the pond placing the future of their country in the hands of Donald Trump, or, indeed closer to home, that we as a nation would decide that we wanted to leave the EU! Yet here we are, entering new unchartered waters in 2017. Whatever the outcome one thing is for sure – it is going to be interesting!
The good news in the immediate term is that our construction firms have continued to recover from their post-referendum soft patch last month, although many have reported the steepest rise in prices for material in more than five years.
But the sector continues to expand at a faster pace than many expected, the main reading on the Markit/CIPS UK construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI) edged up to an eight-month high of 52.8 from 52.6 in October (Reuters poll of economists forecast 52.2).
Residential building and commercial work, which resumed after the Brexit vote delaying decision making may have contributed to this. We would do well to remain cautious and aware of the potential threats of inflationary pressures and uncertain trading conditions.
2016 has been a year of surprises, but unexpected change brings with it an opportunity to rethink our industry and businesses, to challenge ourselves and the sectors we work within.
In parallel with these world-changing events, Concert began to shift its mindset earlier this year with our recent re-brand embarking on the next chapter in the evolution of our firm. Having doubled in size across the UK, we are continuing to focus on our key sectors of residential, retail, hotels, commercial, education, healthcare and data centres.
The most visible manifestation of this comes in the form of Concert ‘Tune In’ – a forum that enables the experts and thinkers within Concert an opportunity to discuss and debate the pertinent topics with our clients, friends and peers. A key part of the Concert ethos of collaboration, listening and learning is focussing on shared interests that impact all of us. Ensuring that we have the highest level of resource and knowledge is how we progress.
We have been hugely encouraged by the response to the ‘Tune In’ within our network, demonstrating to us that there is much to be discussed. The status quo isn’t perfect and the will to change, improve and adapt is perfectly human and encouraging to see in commerce as we look forward to those interesting times!