Future Outlook of the Construction Industry in UK

The building and construction industry in the UK consists of numerous market segments such as residential, manufacturing and infrastructure. Employing about 2.1 million workers (about 7% of the entire workforce) and generating about 6% of the national GDP, the construction industry is hugely influential to the economic well-being of the country.

The U.K. construction industry has recovered quite well following the massive downturn experienced in the wake of the global recession between 2007 and 2009 caused by the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis. At the time, the industry's gross value added (GVA) contribution hovered between £59.6 billion and £75.8 billion - almost half of the current figure. However, there are concerns about the effect of Brexit on the industry.

Industry analysts fear that post-Brexit, the industry could lose about 200,000 skilled EU workers as the country loses access to the single European market. EU nationals currently make up about 8% (176,500) of the total workforce employed by the industry. As it now, the industry is already strained by a shortage of skilled workers who have yet to be added to the Home Office's 'UK Shortage Occupations List', which would allow expedited processing of work permits. The impending absence of skilled EU workers could seriously jeopardise projects worth about $500 billion already in the pipeline.

Despite this, the industry is faring surprisingly well in the first half of 2017, even if the economic output dropped by 0.2% compared to last year. In a statement, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that private commercial contracts are the prime drivers for the industry. This had led to a bullish outlook among many industry observers who believe that the industry is capable of weathering the Brexit economic storm and skilled labour crisis.

The presence of relatively untapped markets in Scotland and Wales also bodes well for the long-term wellbeing of the construction industry in UK.