What has changed in the last six months …? Not much, other than that confidence has returned


The year began with the industry still mired in the depths of recession and anyone seeing a light at the end of the tunnel probably thought it was a train coming towards them … So what has changed to make the transformation in the last six months or so?

Well not much really, apart from a feeling that confidence has entered the arena, fuelled by external agencies giving cautious respect to the government’s austerity measures, plus banks perhaps taking their responsibilities a bit more seriously having generally repaired their balance sheets and thinking they should start doing business again. Then there’s a new Bank of England governor who, on the face of it, is talking a good long game that hints of a steady hand on the tiller.

At any one time China has over sixty “HS2 type” projects on the go creating jobs and wealth

Housing, as ever, seems to be leading the way and this has also been helped by government policy, albeit this is being reined in to prevent things getting out of hand. Hopefully the nimbys will not succeed in stopping some major infrastructure schemes like HS2 and airport expansion, whether it be Heathrow, Stansted, Gatwick or Boris Island (my favourite choice). We really must not let these people hold back progress for future generations. I know the scale of things is different but at any one time China has over sixty “HS2 type” projects on the go creating, jobs, wealth and fabulous infrastructure – so come on Mr Cameron do not fail us in this regard.

Crossrail seems to be taking shape now ahead of its 2018 completion and a North/South project looks increasingly likely now which will be a fantastic boost to the capital and more long term construction jobs.

Steven Barker is chairman of Robinson Low Francis