WSP’s UK head of building services on what the next 12 months have in store
A general election in May is a dead certainty but what are the other key developments, challenges and government priorities that will shape the construction year? Philippe Honnorat, UK head of building services at WSP, considers what the year ahead could have in store for consultants.
What will be the key developments in your sector?
The commercial sector is slowly waking up after a long slumber. In our regional centres acquisition audit has been extremely hot, which shows there’s a lot of transactional activity and is a prelude to renovation or development. We could be in a good position where commercial slowly replaces residential.
What will be the biggest challenge to your sector/profession?
If there is overheating in the market: we have already reached the position where we can’t find a bricklayer for love or money. When we look for people with four to five years’ experience, we can’t find them because we weren’t hiring then.
What should the next government’s main priority for construction be?
We need calm waters. The general direction of tax certainty is imperative: blowing hot and cold worries the investor. The priority is to give us certainty about where we are going.