What Can the Construction Industry Expect From 2022?
Looking ahead to what’s in store for the UK construction industry in 2022, innovation, sustainability and safety are emerging as the watchwords and recurring themes we’d all do well to embrace.
The Key Challenges Faced by the Construction Industry in 2022
Throughout last year, the construction industry’s concerns and apprehensions were dominated by shortages and cost increases of raw materials. And it seems that these trepidations will be even more prevalent – and justified – in 2022.
The average prices of raw materials increased by 23% this year. But this rise is not a new trend.
The average cost of materials across the construction sector was 23.5% higher in 2021 than in 2020.
But Britain still needs to build. Construction is a vital sector for the UK economy. So, will it simply cost more?
If businesses – and the sector at large – are to survive the friction of heightened demand and price inflations, there seems to be only one option. More efficiency.
One new(ish) model that has already proved effective is off-site manufacturing.
The Benefits of Off-Site Construction and Manufacturing
Off-site manufacturing has actually been growing for some time, and 2022 may (have to) be the year we embrace it fully in the UK.
Apart from it already proving to be a more efficient process in general, off-site manufacturing provides more accountability plus the ability to exercise more control over costs.
So far, the buildings these methods have produced are not only to an incredibly high standard, but a standard that is repeatable.
Already famous examples of off-site manufacturing’s potential include the hospital that was built in Wuhan in 10 days. And of course, there was the 57-storey building that was erected in China in just 19 days. Both projects were immense achievements and are great examples of what is possible with off-site manufacturing and MMC (modern methods of construction).
Efficiency is the keyword here, and the one which we need to embrace and concentrate on most. Traditionally, that 57-storey tower in China would have typically taken a couple of years to build. The savings this efficiency provided were naturally, immense.
Clearly, these types of savings can help to offset rising materials and labour costs, so surely, we’ll see far more of these project types replacing traditional methods?
Although many in the construction industry are calling for greater use of off-site manufacturing and MMC, take-up has remained sluggish.
This slow start should gather some pace though, especially as it is a direction that leading project initiatives are not only supportive of but forcing through. For instance, large-scale UK housing projects will not receive grants if 20% of the applying project doesn’t come from off-site manufacturing.
Also, government pledges such as ‘Build Build Build’ and ‘Green Industrial Revolution’, should help to further force the industry to start evolving and thinking differently.