Horizon Construction Group welcomed senior practitioners from across the region to discuss major issues impacting the construction industry at the inaugural Construction and Property Breakfast.
The construction industry has been in the grip of some crippling micro and macro economic challenges; all of which have now had a profound long-term effect on the way firms operate. The economic recovery from the pandemic has accelerated a number of those issues but has also highlighted the importance of change in both operational and construction methods. As the industry gets back on its feet, the need for firms to build stronger and more collaborative relationships throughout the construction process has never been more critical.
In October, Colchester-based Horizon Construction brought together over 50 senior practitioners from across the region to The Construction and Property Breakfast. As a principal contractor and a firm that is recognised for its unique approach to construction, the focus of the event was to provide an opportunity for a range of industry professions to better understand each other’s issues within the specific area of the future planning environment.
The Construction and Property Breakfast was held at The Barn in Colchester, which was Horizon Construction’s founding project in 1999.
Changes in the planning process, both nationally and locally, are being driven by a more sustainable and considered approach to construction methods to minimise the impact on the environment. Robert Pomery of Pomery Planning Consultants provided a detailed insight into those new changes. Closer cooperation and collaboration throughout the construction process – from the client’s initial design requirements to fulfilment by the supply chain – is required to deliver the requirements. Fundamentally, construction solutions and methods need widespread change to meet the environmental challenges to our climate. This also includes solutions that are more optimal for the people who use them e.g. biophilia techniques to deliver more natural and beneficial living and working environments.
Robert Pomery, Pomery Planning Consultants, and The Construction and Property Breakfast.
In addition to the changes in planning, there have been far-reaching issues in the economy. These include increases in the cost of materials, rising production costs, supply constraints, and a shortage of construction professionals and skilled labour. The effects of Brexit are also entwined with the complexity of those issues. Recent data from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy shows prices for construction materials were, on average, nearly a quarter more in August 2021 than August 2020. Some material costs, such as plywood, are three quarters more than in 2020. At the time of writing, the price of cement and bricks has not yet peaked.
Even with recent indications that some of the economic challenges are easing, albeit slightly, action is required by more developers and firms involved in construction to engage with the bigger picture.
Horizon Construction has experienced remarkable success during the pandemic. It has completed projects to schedule and has been in control of its supply chain. With a forward-thinking agenda, it is working with clients and partners to drive change.
Managing Director, Phil Holding, commented: “Engagement with our clients, partners and supply chain has never been more critical. Horizon Construction has won several new contracts during this year and we are working ever more closely with all stakeholders, including local communities and bodies, to deliver future solutions which will suit the test of time.”
Mr Holding continues: “The current issues in the industry and for our climate set a clear agenda of what needs to happen. The underlying issue is to take our collective responsibilities in construction to provide more sustainable and considered methods of practice for the benefit of buildings, the people they serve and the environment as a whole.”
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