Managing Director's Column - The Outlook for 2020
Thursday, 2 July 2020
Thursday, 2 July 2020
The last few months have given all of us some time to reflect and think about our lives with a degree of perspective that we perhaps haven’t had before. For me personally, it has been a good time to reflect on where we have got to as a business and what lies ahead for GCD.
There is no question the last few years have been turbulent ones for the construction industry. The ramifications of Brexit were significant for the whole country and we felt the impact across lots of areas of our business. We felt the effect of wage inflation as many of our valued workers from Europe took the tough decision to return home rather than stay in the UK. And the devaluation of the pound saw raw material prices rise by up to 8%. Tough challenges for the whole industry. So it was enormously reassuring to see the significant increase in enquiries for our services (well over 10 fold year on year) in the first quarter of 2020.
But then came Covid-19, turning all our lives upside down and halting the economy in its tracks. It is hard to think that, as well as the incredibly hard personal losses, there are businesses that just won’t recover.
I am grateful that we went into lockdown with a solid order book and a wonderfully loyal client base. The whole team has worked incredibly hard to keep as many projects as possible on track over the last few months, while following health guidelines. In the past few weeks we have started to see some positive movement, with new enquiries coming in from customers, architect firms confirming a rise in potential projects, and our contacts in the property market reporting a huge surge in buying interest, with houses going to competitive bids.
I do believe we will see a recovery to pre-Covid levels, but there is no doubt things will be different. Perhaps some things will change for the better. Certainly, many of us are working differently and considering making that a permanent change. And it is likely that that will have a profound effect on the commercial property market, with opportunities opening up for redevelopment.
As a company we look forward to getting back to normality as soon as possible. We’re nearly there and in the meantime hope that you have all stayed safe through these uncertain times and look forward to working with you again.