Archive for February, 2010

The voice of construction

It’s always a case of whoever shouts loudest gets the most attention, so why does our industry always seem to have such a weak voice when it comes to lobbying government?

Take for instance Building Magazine’s latest campaign: They’ve called it Charter 284: A Building Manifesto to promote construction spending. The title comes from the fact that, according to a report by economic consultant LEK, every £1 invested in construction generates £2.84 of GDP.

Why oh why can our voice not be heard? The government listens to car manufacturers, no doubt now the steelworkers, and it seems almost every other industry except ours. Have we really got just the boiler scrappage scheme on the go at the moment?!

And, while I’m on about it, and following what I was saying two weeks ago, what about this for some headline statistics: The government target (set in 2005) was for us to build 240,000 houses by 2016 and a further 240,000 on an annual basis thereafter. But how many did we build in 2009? 118,000!

If everyone in the industry signs up to Building’s campaign will we stand a chance of getting ourselves back on our feet again? I’d like to think so, but will we do it?

If you are interested then you can sign up here, but this is what Building are saying should be done:

  1. Complete the renewal of the school estate
  2. Don’t let spending on transport infrastructure fall more than 10% below current levels
  3. Reduce the regulatory burden on the housing sector to encourage more development
  4. Give householders incentives to green existing homes
  5. Prioritise the development of renewable energy, including nuclear, through incentives for private sector investment.

What do you think? We’ve got to start somewhere, somehow…

State of the Economy Survey

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we were doing a survey of our client contacts who are involved in construction disputes and that it was revealing some interesting results. Well the results are all in and the survey is closed so I thought I’d share some of the statistics with you:

  • 59% of our respondents said that framework agreements were still working well with clients;
  • 21% of those that replied felt that the proposed changes to JCT2005 in terms of the payment provision would have a positive impact on them, with 54% saying it would have no effect, the other 25% were undecided;
  • A massive 75% said they regularly worked on letters of intent!
  • 56% of replies said they were not experiencing problems getting paid from clients;
  • And finally, an impressive 85% of respondents said they were not experiencing any increase in the number of adjudications started against them from their supply chain.

The timing was ironic as we set a deadline and part of the incentive to complete the survey was a EuroMillions lottery ticket for the draw on Friday 12th February. So I’m pleased to report that we managed to take a slice of the £113 million that was shared out! Indeed, two people actually won! Someone won £6 and the other person £7.70, well what can I say… it’s the taking part that counts?!

If you are interested in the full results of our survey then visit our website to read more.

Bankers & housing developers

Well it’s been a busy month for us so far and, not wishing to tempt fate, but long may it continue! Having commented that people seemed to be settling their accounts and not using the likes of us, we’ve now seen increased activity in the need for our support over the last few days! We’ve had clients both new and old wanting us to get stuck in on some unsavoury disputes they have!

I’ve also been involved with quite a bit of local private development work recently. We’ve worked on a few private projects of late with people having some fairly generous sized houses being built! A local developer we’ve worked with has also come back to us with another small project that he’d like us to get involved with. His feeling is that now is the cheapest time to build and if he can get a few projects off the ground now he will be set for 2011.

The issue he and many of us have is with the banks and their lending criteria. They are just not being helpful to our industry at all, however talking to a few bankers (yes I said bankers!) the government has changed the criteria for them too with regards to how they can lend money, so it’s not solely down to them. It’s still annoying though as we are just not building anywhere near the number of houses we need in this country!

I’m not going to comment much on the football this week. I still believe, like Mr Wenger, that we can do it, so keep the faith – for now!

Speaking of bankers, I came across this amusing article and video when I was looking for new news/RSS feeds to subscribe to. See what you think!

And so begins February!

I guess I should start with a comment about my team, Arsenal. After reaching the dizzying heights of the top of the league, it looks like we’ve got a nose bleed and have fallen from grace! I went to the game on Sunday and it was very disappointing but, to be fair, United were very good and we just lacked that passion. Arshavin was our best player in my opinion, but Nani played like Ronaldo did against us in the Champions League game. Don’t write us off yet though – look at last night’s result for Chelsea!

But back to the work stuff… We’ve seen a tremendous amount of activity over the last few days, so it’s back to where we were a couple of weeks ago. The projects we’ve had come into the office (for us to produce BoQ’s for) have again been for social housing, warehousing, office developments, university buildings, care homes, hotels, and schools. So a real mix of projects which is very encouraging!

We’ve also noticed some contractors starting to show an interest in temporary staff again, as they’ve reached capacity and are reluctant to take on more staff permanently, so have come to us to help them through their period of increased activity. Long may this continue!

We’ve been doing a survey of some of our contractors over the last few weeks. The aim is to see how they’re dealing with certain topical contractual issues of late. I’ll keep you posted about the results as the deadline hasn’t passed yet, but so far it’s revealed some interesting information about what’s actually happening out there – some of it contradictory to what the press are saying!

I read that construction activity fell at the slowest rate for two years yesterday with the Construction Purchasing Managers (CIPS/Markit) Index standing at 48.6. Anything over 50 and we are in growth… Which sounds like my age and waist-line as I get older!

And now you’ve finished reading my blog you need to shut your internet brower down and go and do some work, because I read earlier that excess internet use is linked with depression!

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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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