The media hype around the looming recession merely serves to perpetuate the problem.

And while the economy is under increasing scrutiny, we have yet to experience a lull. In fact, requests for building work are higher than ever and the demand for skilled workers is still strong.

The property market has been rattled by reports of a slump, with house sales and property values falling. But this is unlikely to affect the construction industry. Builders, plumbers and electricians will always be required for home maintenance work. And with fewer and fewer of us thinking about selling up and moving house, any small maintenance tasks we have put off from one year to another will need addressing.

Building companies and contractors should be making the most of the current climate. The only difference will be that consumers will drive even harder bargains, so offering a high level of service at competitive rates will be more important than ever before.

Derek Vaughan, managing director, Quotatis UK