Construction professionals have called for the government to protect the industry from future recessions, as part of a roundtable discussion hosted by UK Construction Week in association with Checkatrade.
The event, chaired by TV personality and Checktrade Ambassador Craig Phillips, brought together a cross-section of tradesmen to discuss the key topics affecting the industry today.
The main issue addressed was the sense of dissatisfaction with the level of support the government gives to construction, despite the industry being a major driving factor behind economic recovery and growth.
Discussing the prospect of another recession in the future, several participants claimed that the constant cycle of boom and bust is the biggest threat to their businesses today.
Many asserted that little support is given to construction companies during difficult times – in sharp contrast to other industries such as automotive and finance.
Craig commented: “It’s disheartening that during the last recession the British car industry received a package of benefits and funding from the government, as well as huge bailouts for the banking sector, yet the construction industry was left to fend for itself.”
The roundtable also discussed the lack of regulations regarding competent work, posing a threat to the industry’s reputation.
Several speakers argued that there is not enough enforcement to ensure contractors deliver high quality standards of work, with the heating and electrical trades in particular highlighting this as a serious problem.
This can result in less scrupulous contractors undercutting genuine tradesmen by delivering substandard or dangerous installations.
Kevin Byrne, the founded of Checkatrade, commented: “It was interesting to hear the speakers talk about how important reputation is to them and the difficulties they face with ‘cowboy’ traders out there in the market.
Another issue was around effectively marketing their businesses on social media, as while all of the speakers were aware how important this is, most of them were unsure how to go about it.”
Throughout the event at the Birmingham NEC there will be a number of sessions designed to help tradesmen and SMEs develop their businesses.
In addition to three full days of free-to-attends educational content and live tool demonstrations, a communications masterclass will be held at the Site Zone in the Build Show, covering social media, marketing, setting up a website and taking advantage of local press contacts.
Nathan Garnett, show director at UK Construction Week, commented: “It was great to hear the roundtable participants talk so passionately about the issues they face today.
The concerns they brought up certainly chime with our understanding of the construction landscape at present and are topics that we’re looking to address in our seminar programme.”
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