Time for a Construction Revolution?

I read an article in The Times the other weekend about how the uprising began in Tunisia with a simple story about a fruit and veg man being badly treated and how that subsequently spread to the events we all saw in Egypt, and now other countries too.  It got me thinking (dangerous I know…)

The thing about being an SME, or at the lower end of the food chain, is that it’s a very hard and lonely place to be right now.

You’ve got the big companies holding on to your cash for longer. Getting paid after 60 or 90 days is not uncommon now and, really, for no other reason than to fund the way they are pricing their work. It looks good to their backers as it appears they’ve cash in hand at the bank. Everyone knows the game.

You’ve got your own banks telling you to get your cash in earlier otherwise they’ll, well, you know what… to you.

You’ve got the Government fiddling with red tape and employment laws making it even harder for you to know what’s best for your business. Can someone tell me what the new retirement changes will mean to an SME for instance?

And in the end all that happens is any little profit you may be making is squeezed out of you when you get hit by, yes… a bad debt!

Sounds like I’m speaking from experience here and, well, I am… I’d love to give you a few real case studies here, but I’ll keep quiet. Maybe that’s another blog….

So what to do?

Building did try and get a campaign going last year before the election with their Charter 284 Manifesto… Remember that? It had the great statistic that every £1 spent in Construction is worth £2.84 to the Economy. That’s a fantastic statistic and makes our industry one of the most important to the Economy.

So what happened to that? Well all we’ve had since then is cuts in spending and more cuts in spending. Why wasn’t our voice heard? I don’t trust the new way in which the Economy statistics are being produced either at the moment. Who feels like our industry grew by 8% in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared to 2009?!

Surely it’s time for a Construction Revolution of our own?

The RICS has tried again to kick things off in it’s own way with a call for a reduction in the VAT rate on the repair and maintenance of homes to 5%, which they calculate this could lead to £17bn of benefits to the Economy by 2019. But is anyone at the Government really listening to us? I think not…

It’s time for some action from us in the industry to make the Government truly understand how important this industry is to UKplc.

So what to do? I wish I knew but if there were enough of us ordinary everyday people in the industry who could get together and start a campaign for some action to kick start things then I’d be up for the revolution!

6 Responses to “Time for a Construction Revolution?”

  1. 1 Peter L Masters MCIM February 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Hello Derek and thank you for yet another thought provoking post! I’m very, very dubious by any figures offered by either the government or the opposition and that’s not a great place to be. It would seem that no one’s voice is being heard too much just lately and despite my usual optimism, every time we hear that something good has happened it seems to get cancelled out by a negative report of some kind.
    To me the worry is, no one seems to have the faintest idea what can be done. Campaigns are often just token efforts that get ignored. I’ve seen slumps and difficult times before, but none quite as deep and lingering as this. Having said that I’m still convinced it won’t last indefinitely, hope just MUST be around the corner.
    Perhaps it will take a sudden influx of foreign investment to wake up our politicians and our ‘captains of industry’? It only takes a few optimists to start the financial snow ball rolling, doesn’t it? Fear and greed have always motivated investors and I’m longing for this fear period to come to an end.

    • 2 derekmynott February 22, 2011 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks Peter for the comments. Must admit I hadn’t quite thought of investors as being fearful and greedy in the same way as you put it; but I’ll go along with having an end to a period of fear for sure! I still think that if we could galvanise enough of us in the industry our voices could be heard. Our industry is so fragmented and made up of hundreds of SME’s across the country that are the very lifeblood of business today. Surely we must be able to make a stand, and someone take notice of the detrimental affects that a lot of the actions being taken today are causing serious long term damage.

  2. 3 James Bruce February 23, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    “It had the great statistic that every £1 spent in Construction is worth £2.84 to the Economy.” Would the converse also be true Derek? : that if you want to deliberately deflate the construction industry and take money out of the economy, you just don’t spend £1 in construction and it would be worth £2.84 out of the economy?

    If it is true, then their Charter 284 Manifesto … has been used to take the heat out of the construction bubble, with a vengeance!

    • 4 derekmynott February 24, 2011 at 8:58 am

      Hi James, now that is an interesting line to take and I hadn’t thought of the reverse working in such a way. One for the statisticians to work out, but if it’s true then no wonder we are all feeling the pain!

  1. 1 Tweets that mention New blog posting....Time for a Construction Revolution? #construction #property -- Topsy.com Trackback on February 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm
  2. 2 Think before you tweet….. « Derek Mynott's Blog Trackback on May 10, 2011 at 8:12 am

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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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