According to recent headlines in the business press, 20,000 companies are likely to fail over the next year.
Indeed, accountant and consultant BDO Stoy Hayward believes that this figure will rise to 70,000 within the next three years. You might think, so what? Well, the news about construction isn't too great. Quarterly business failures for our sector in 2003 are predicted to exceed 700, climbing further to 800 in the last quarter, 900 in the last quarter of 2004 and the third quarter of 2005. In the short term, business failures will rise by 28% from 628 in late 2002 to 805 in the last quarter of this year. Thankfully, the construction industry KPIs indicate a continuous improvement in industry performance, placing businesses committed to improvement in a strong position to weather the predicted downturn in construction's fortunes.

A gauge of industry improvement is a satisfied client. The results show a five-year improvement to 2003 in the percentage of projects that were rated eight out of 10 or better for client satisfaction with the product, increasing from 72% to 78%, and client satisfaction with service increasing from 58% to 71%. The Rethinking Construction demonstration projects still continue to outperform the industry at large and provide evidence that those applying Egan principles and engaging in best practice are reaping the benefits. Client satisfaction with product and service rated at 90% and 86% respectively with general improvements for all KPIs. This positive change can be attributed to a rise in integrated team working and supply chains and a greater emphasis on partnering, planning and innovation. Demonstration project results are now being used by many companies as a "must-reach" standard for them.

These encouraging results show a commitment towards best practice as well as achievement of measurable business improvement. The message from this year's results is that any company standing still is in danger of being left behind as the industry improves. Judging from the statistics generated by BDO Stoy Hayward, being left behind might have serious consequences.