The effect of Brexit on the construction industry; Howells Patent Glazing

In the wake of Brexit, our Cradley Heath based manufacturing firm, Howells Patent Glazing, have seen a substantial increase in homeowners and local builders taking a hands-on approach to construction – cutting out the middleman. Our firm believes this as result of people wanting to retain control of a build project and reduce cost in order to keep afloat in these uncertain economic times. This is backed up by our record-breaking turnover figures for the past 3 years.

Figures from the Barbour ABI Economic and Construction Market Review state that the economy grew 0.4% in the first quarter of 2016, and continued to grow to 0.6% in the second quarter. Since then, Brexit contract activity has fallen in all areas of construction, but more specifically, public housing and infrastructure has taken a massive hit by at least 21% down in comparison to last year, and 15% down on the first quarter of this year.

Tracey Jackson, marketing manager at Howells Patent Glazing said, “Contrary to the figures in the Barbour ABI Economic and Construction Market Review, we have noticed a definite upturn in the level of enquiries – but not just in the construction side of our business. The ‘supply only’ side of our business seems to be equally as busy, if not busier than last year, in general”.

Howells Patent Glazing’s supply only department has always followed a 40:60 rule, until two years ago, when we noticed that things were starting to change. Over the last three years, the Howells team have increased their turnover by 50%, but the rule of thumb for our supply only department has changed to 50:50.

The popularity of home makeover/construction programmes on TV proves that the self-builder is on the up, with many people project managing their own home makeovers. People are also back on the trend of buying properties to use as future pensions, predicting a potential inadequacy of the state pension – something that people have been unable to afford for some time. However, we believe that the ‘second home inflated stamp duty tax’ will slow this down.

Whether Howells’s success with our ‘supply only’ department is down to Brexit or not will become clear over the next year, but for now, our firm is hoping that the new, post-Brexit self-build trend will start to change the way the UK construction industry makes money, with UK businesses buying from each other once again.

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