Firms defy wider gloom with 80% of companies reckoning business will get better or stay same in coming 12 months

Four in five of the largest built environment consultants now expect trading conditions to improve or stabilise in the coming months, defying the gloom that has struck other parts of the construction sector and the wider economy which this week saw 12,500 jobs lost with the collapse of the Wilko retail chain.

Building’s annual Top 150 Consultants survey findings, published on Friday, will show that 81% of firms expect trading conditions to improve or remain stable over the next 12 months, compared to 65% the previous year.

A total of 30% of respondents now expect conditions to improve, compared to 13% when asked the question in 2022. And 19% of consultants expect conditions to worsen, down by nearly half from the 35% previously.


Consultants’ confidence has remained resilient in the wake of problems in the wider UK economy which has seen 90-year-old High Street retailer Wilko collapse into administration with the loss of 12,500 jobs

The survey was carried out in April and May this year. Last year’s survey was carried out weeks after the onset of the war in Ukraine, amid concern about rapidly rising inflation and cost of living concerns.

Nick Gray, chief operating officer for UK and Europe at Currie & Brown, said: “I think 12 months ago the concerns about the impact of inflation were causing a lot of doubt and uncertainty. That uncertainty hasn’t gone away but I think everybody’s got a bit more comfortable with it.

“It could still flare up again and cause a spike in prices or a drop in confidence but, at the moment, things feel reasonably stable.”

The full Top 150 Consultants tables includes a ranking of the largest firms by UK fee income while there will be separate rankings for the Top 50 architects, project managers, engineers and surveyors.

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Our exclusive analysis will show fee income growth across the industry split by sector and will also reveal which firms have grown the fastest over the past 12 months.

Our sentiment survey will reveal consultants’ biggest risks and investment priorities along with trends around recruitment and pay.

Tomorrow we will publish Top 150 findings showing how important consultants think machine learning and artificial intelligence will be to their business and the areas in which they believe the technology will have most potential.