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'CompeteFor' - Developing Partnerships

27 Apr

Last week, Cavendish Professionals had the pleasure of attending the ‘Compete For’ event at Kensington Olympia on a rare, sunny day (for mid-April) in London.  Despite the sunshine, I was quite happy to be inside listening to senior members from the UK’s construction industry reconfirm how buoyant our market is right now, whilst identifying the size of the supply chain needed for the projects that the UK aim to deliver over the next 5 years.

Some may already be aware of the infrastructure projects set to hit the UK in the coming years, but for those of you who are still unsure as to how much is in the pipeline, this article is for you.

The National Infrastructure Development Plan (NIDP) 2016 – 2021 outlines details of at least £480 billion worth of investment covering over 600 infrastructure projects and programmes across multiple sectors and spread across the UK. Although some of these projects are still moving from paper to digital, we can be confident in the knowledge that the majority of these projects are ‘needed’ and not just wanted, as the UK prepares for the predicted growth of our population and economy.

Some key areas of investment over the next few years are:

Transportation- £88.4 billion
Energy – £117.4 billion
Social Infrastructure - £48.6 billion
Water & Wastewater - £19.7 billion
Housing & Regeneration - £9.1 billion
Communications - £6 billion
Science & Research - £5.5 billion
Flood and Coastal Erosion – £2.7 billion

Although the NIPD is to roll out across the entire UK, the event was more focussed on projects taking place in the South of England, with London remaining a key talking point. With predictions that we will have over 10 million people living in London by 2036, three topics were top of the agenda: transport, housing and utilities. As the population of London rapidly increases, these facilities will require a huge overhaul in order to cope with the surge.  

There is only so much land available in the greater London area to address the lack of housing where we need at least 50,000 new homes per year. However, a recent estimate from Savills has stated that London will only average 32,000 homes annually over the next 5 years. Some of the focus will be on making London better connected to other cities and towns to stretch the commuter belt with the likes of HS2 and Thameslink forming a large part of that plan. With Crossrail due to open in 2019 this will help to ease congestion on the rail networks. However, despite the plans in place, there are concerns that there will still be a lack of affordable housing and associated infrastructure by 2022. 

During the event we were able to meet a number of senior professionals from the likes of Costain, TFL and Laing O’Rourke who were on hand to share their insights regarding the supply chain needed to bring these projects, along with a host of others, to reality. There are countless opportunities for just about every industry to play a part in the realisation of these developments. From media planning to supplying materials and waste management, the competition to win contracts will be intense. 

Of course whenever Cavendish attends events like this, we always have one question in mind “Is there a sufficient amount of talent in the sector to make these plans possible?” Speaking to a senior representative from one of the largest contractors at the event, we were told that the concern lies with a lack of middle management professionals (10-15 yrs experience) with sufficient knowledge in infrastructure projects, especially related to tunnelling. With a large number of individuals with the right qualifications falling into the UK retirement age over the next few years, it is difficult to see how the middle management gap will be filled. Cavendish Professionals have identified a good pool of construction professionals coming through university and graduate programs currently working in the market at present but the question is: will they be ready in time? 

Many believe that we could benefit from claiming back some of the talented professionals that have been drawn to projects overseas in recent years. If we can attract some of this talent back to the UK market it could help us to fill the void in middle management roles, however, with salary and benefits packages at a highly competitive stage, it could be difficult for UK companies to meet expectations. 

Having attended the event, we are now very clear on the key projects to watch in the months and years to come, and there is a lot to be excited about. We have provided a list below of all the projects that were discussed during the event, all offering opportunities to multiple industries.

 And here they are…
  • Thames Tideway Tunnel 
  • HS2 
  • Crossrail 2 
  • Northern Line & London Overground Extensions 
  • Thameslink
  • Inner Orbital Toll Tunnel
  • TFL Roads program 
  • Silvertown Tunnel & Lower Thames Crossing
  • Bakerloo Line Extension
  • M1 Smart Motorway Scheme
  • Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station
  • M4 (Corridor Around Newport) – CAN Project
  • Preston Bypass
  • East Coast Main Line Power Supply Upgrade
  • Eight20 Water Projects 
Cavendish Professionals operate from the UK and specialise in staffing the construction industry mid-level to senior professionals for infrastructure and building projects. If you are interested in discussing an opportunity, or if you would like to be kept up-to-date on project developments, contact one of our consultants today!
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