Things are looking steady for firms active in the capital but concerns over opportunities outside London are a talking point
The vibe at Mipim 2012 has been about as changeable as the weather and depends very much on who you talk to. For firms active in the capital, things are looking steady and the London stand has been bustling and full of smiles all week. As Tim Mote, regional director at Aecom, said: “London is one of the few safe havens in Europe at the moment and so it will attract investment. And it shows.”
And of course there is the added excitement surrounding the Olympics as the ODA and OPLC are out in force. Andrew Altman, chief executive of OPLC, pointed out early in the week that the buzz around the Games is also spurring on interest in other big London schemes including Nine Elms, King’s Cross and Earl’s Court. Good news aplenty.
Similarly, firms active in key growth areas overseas are upbeat. Huge pavilions such as Qatar’s and the large Bahrain Bay and Downtown Doha stands are proof of just how much work there is up for grabs for UK firms internationally and outside of western Europe.
But it’s not all good news. The Manchester and Birmingham stands looked quiet early in the week and concerns over construction opportunities outside of London have been a popular talking point.
One UK-based developer said post-Olympics things in the UK would be “extremely bleak”: “And if 2012 is bleak for me, the construction industry should be expecting the knock on to hit in 2013.”
If this turns out to be the case, what’s the answer? Most said chasing international work would be critical, particularly off the back of the industry’s Olympic success.
As Andrew Altman says: “The Olympics are a major testimony to the skill of the UK construction industry. We need to market our skills overseas, export our expertise and make some noise around this construction success story.”