Future Looking Brighter For Construction Industry

The construction industry in the United Kingdom employs approximately 1.4 million people and includes 186,000 SME’s. Now it is an arguable fact of any economy that one of the first signs of a healthy economy is a strong and vibrant construction industry.

Taking this into account I guess that means that things are on the up as far as the British economy is considered?

Well not necessarily as we have a small intermediate problem to get over called interest rates I suppose, but by and large, a vibrant Construction Sector is an indicator that things are getting better. The Logic here is that if people have money to pay for projects then they have money etc.

Now it is either this or you have a government pumping massive amounts into a recession hit economy trying get at least one of the key components working. The knock on effect being that if you get that working it will help jumpstart other parts of the economy as well.

The latter point may have some merit but the real issue is that, though the construction sector might be improving it is still faced with quite major issues. It has to overcome these in order to make sure that it is in a good enough position to move forward with confidence.

The industry has to develop a long-term strategy if it’s to avoid the perennial boom and bust cycle that makes the industry re-active as opposed to pro active.

That having been said, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers in their recent global CEO survey, construction industry CEOs are more optimistic. This is good when you consider the issues that the industry is had to face in the last two to three years. One of the major issues as far as the SME sector was concerned about was compliance with the HMRC Construction Industry Scheme.

The idea of this scheme was to effectively root out employees masquerading as self-employed subcontractors and as a result avoiding NIC and Tax Payments.

Now this is an issue that the construction industry has had massive problems with over the years and to be fair as an industry it is cleaning its act up.

Gone are the days when smaller construction companies could turn a blind eye to regulations and hence almost pay employees on a cash in hand basis and by default remove themselves from their obligation to pay the relevant tax and national insurance.

The new scheme which was fully implemented in April 2007 has imposed an additional burden on policing tax status on employers who are already disappearing under considerable amounts of red tape. Every employer / contractor will have to make a monthly return within 14 days of the month end.

In this return they will have to include all the pertinent details of payments to subcontractors and details of any deductions from payments to subcontractors. This will act as a form of declaration confirming that employment status has been considered and a declaration that the verification process has been applied correctly.

The final kicker as far as employers are concerned is that if they file their returns incorrectly or late they get hit with a fine. An incorrect return effectively makes the employment status incorrect so it is important to get the information right first.

As per usual The Inland Revenue were very quick to point out that actually this is an already existing requirement and shouldn’t be considered an onerous task as the information should already be in existence.

The Economic Situation Of The Construction Industry

The Construction industry is very important to the UK’s and indeed to the world’s economy. In the UK, it accounts for more than 10% of the country’s gross domestic product and employs an estimated 2.5 million people. In the last three years, an extra 33 billion has been made available to this sector to increase public services. Included in this figure are major investments in transport, health and housing. As the industry is investment-driven, it is subject to the strictures of economic upturns and downturns; during the recessions of the mid 1980’s and the early 1990’s, there were significant downturns. However, in the late 1990’s, there was a marked swing in the opposite direction.

Our construction industry, by very nature of its geographical location, is not subject to the full influences of cross-border competition that are in evidence in mainland Europe. However, construction industries worldwide have been affected by the current economic climate and the increasing rise in fuel prices. For the earlier part of 2008, the German construction industry showed a marked upturn, but this slowed and tailed off later in the year, due to the increase in oil prices and the slowing economic pace of many industrialized countries. In addition to economic factors, there is a turn in the tide of ecological factors. In America, the number of people citing Global Warming as the most important environmental issue rose from 11% in 2003 to 35% in 2006. The construction industry faces new challenges in replacing and renovating buildings with minimal environmental impact. At the same time, the cost of these precautions has to be measured against potential profits.

However, despite the factors that seem to be conspiring against it, the construction industry moves at a very fast pace and is an ever-changing entity. Whilst legislation is forever altering, new techniques, technology and methods are developing to keep up. With the development of new practices, new jobs in construction are perpetually being created. In the UK, the Home Office has released figures stating that the three Construction Jobs that are most lacking in applicants are those for transportation and highways engineering, ground engineering and contaminated land specialists. With major infrastructures and building developments taking place in the South East of the UK, such as the 2012 Olympics and the Thames Gateway regeneration, construction recruitment in this area is set to soar. Britain’s Olympic Games will have 30 venues and a budget of 2.3 billion. It also has a non-negotiable, absolute completion date. As that date draws nearer, the construction industry will find itself heavily in demand as pressure and expectation rise. 2012 promises to be an important year for this industry and many are looking upon it as a chance to showcase its talents.

Of course, construction takes place across the globe and this gives workers a chance to travel as well as work. Construction jobs require large teams of people all working to a common goal and, while the lifestyle can be quite temporary, many get used to it and find it a liberating existence. Some projects are short-term, whilst others can last for years such as the construction of an oil refinery.

Ten Tips For Staying Employed In The Construction Industry

Ever wonder why some in construction manage to work year-round while others seem to bounce from contractor to contractor? “What’s their secret?” you might ask. Are they just lucky? Perhaps, but there are some things you can do to even the odds.

Did you know that most Foremen know exactly who they are going to let go weeks before they ever hand out a pink slip? It’s a standard practice in construction to make a “Lay off List” with the names of the workers on a crew in order of production. Call it a “Head Count”, a “Lay off List”, a “Totem Pole”–call it whatever you like, but you’re on it. The real question is, “Are you on the top or the bottom”?

Often a Foreman will be told, “Lay off three workers” and given only a moment to make the decision. The names on the bottom are the first to go. You may not be aware that it’s a fluid list and that names move up and down as production increases and decreases.

By the way, your Foreman’s not the only one deciding who stays and who goes. It may be a Project Manager or even a customer that may see you leaning against a ladder and make a split second evaluation of your work ethic. It’s not fair. That’s for sure, but unless your reputation as a hard worker precedes you, it might be too late for anyone to step in and rescue you.

Some will work on many jobsites and somehow manage to miss the lay offs. Is it because they’re luckier than the next person? No. It’s just that they know the ten tips for staying employed in the construction industry.

1) Walk with a Purpose- Don’t meander around on a construction site.
2) Pack a Lunch- You’ll save money, be healthier and live longer.
3) Show up Everyday- You’ll outlast those who don’t.
4) Show up On Time- This one really pays.
5) Be Flexible- Be prepared to do a variety of tasks, even sweeping.
6) Update your Skills- Take industry related classes.
7) Be Reachable- Buy an answering machine or cell phone with voice mail .
8) Have Reliable Transportation- Buy the best vehicle you can afford.
9) Have A Positive Attitude- There’s no such thing as “can’t” in construction.
10) Look the Part- Dress like a professional tradesman.

Well there you have it; ten tips to staying employed in the construction industry. They may seem obvious, but if that’s the case why are so many workers caught in the rut of constantly being let go? If you’re fortunate enough to work with some of the best tradesmen in the field, you’ll notice that they seem to have these qualities. Consider yourself lucky. Not everyone has the pleasure of apprenticing with such professionals. If you follow these simple steps, you will stay employed longer, earn more money and avoid having to tell your family that the holidays are going to be tight this year. Still, it’s a good idea to save a little money for those slow periods.