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Bouncing along: The path to Brexit

The post-Brexit bounce, reported by the construction industry towards the end of last year, has confounded all critics and naysayers of the EU exit who warned that the industry, and its supply chain, faced impending doom.

I don’t think any of us anticipated the immediate difficulties that would follow June’s result (just as we hadn’t predicted the outcome). According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Britain’s construction industry displayed its poorest performance in four years during the first three months after the Brexit vote.

At Saracen, we were undeniably impacted in the very first instance. The barrage of media reporting, across all platforms, pointing out the pitfalls of an EU exit and the weakening of the pound seemed to cast fear in the strongest of hearts. Across the industry, there were many contracts that were radically reduced in size, and spend, or even scrapped in total, as a consequence of the outcome. Everybody was nervous to commit.

Summer is usually a quieter time anyway and so the time of year, combined with Brexit, made it a particularly nerve-racking few months for a lot of contractors and consultants. For our part, we concentrated on actively pursuing leads, working to build up the pipeline and to forge on.

Although we’re still navigating unfamiliar territory when it comes to disentangling from the EU, the market has most definitely picked up again. We finished the year with our order book at a record high as more and more companies decided to go ahead with projects that had not been considered, or had been placed on-hold, in the immediate wake of 23rd June.

The country’s path to Brexit is still uncertain and it is that uncertainty that has the potential to cause concern but it is not a time to stay still. The team at Saracen are looking firmly ahead and we plan to stay on our toes as confidence fully returns and grows and companies increase their spend with regard to their commercial property portfolios.

It’s certainly a great time to network and to win new business as there will be many projects that, in the process of being reworked and scaled down, become too small for the big contractors. And that’s where we come in… We’re set up to consider projects of all sizes and we now work all around the UK.

We’re all looking for some clarity post-Brexit but until then it’s very much business as usual – and, with a forward order book bulging, there seems to be a lot of it around !

 


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