As prospects for the commercial sector have waned, an opportunity arises for construction firms

Much hope for a construction recovery has been pinned on a bounce back in the commercial property sector.

But as the year has progressed prospects for the sector have waned. The main industry forecasts have steadily revised down their expectations for growth and it would be no surprise to see these revised down further.

The release of this week’s survey by Savills of commercial development activity points to worsening prospects. It shows activity declining for the fifth consecutive month in November.

The opportunity lies in finding solutions to how the nation can revitalise its redundant stock

Meanwhile the British Property Federation last week put out a release revealing its concerns over the debt refinancing challenge facing the property industry as the eurozone crisis puts the squeeze on available funds.

All told, there seems little chance now that 2012 will be anything other than bleak for construction overall while the longer-term for commercial prospects are gradually dimming.

But as retailers retreat from the high street, as vacant offices become a more common feature within Britain’s towns and as public buildings are vacated, a major opportunity opens for innovative and forward-thinking construction firms.

The opportunity lies in finding solutions to how the nation can repurpose and revitalise its redundant building stock.

Here construction firms, particularly working at a local level with local knowledge, could play a huge role.

Councils will be eager to avoid the blight caused to high streets and town centres of visible empty buildings and they will be keen to attract new businesses.

Landlords, faced with the upkeep of vacant buildings will be eager to see them in use.

Firms that can co-ordinate many potentially interested parties, can develop innovative funding models and can deliver cost-efficient solutions will be in great demand in the years ahead.