Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Business survey takes on greater significance

The latest survey of members carried out by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) will provide vital market intelligence that can help the industry shape a strategy to cope with extremely challenging economic conditions. 

Rising material prices, shortages of staff, and turbulent financial markets are creating a confusing picture so BESA is urging all of its members to provide feedback which can be converted into useful advice to help them navigate the stormy months ahead. 

The quarterly Building Engineering Business Survey, which is carried out by BESA in partnership with fellow trade bodies ECA, SELECT and SNIPEF, is now open to members and closes for responses on May 20 

The last survey, which was completed in February, revealed that employers were most concerned about the shortage of skilled staff with 47% of respondents saying that “attracting the right calibre of people to the business” was their biggest problem.  Almost half of firms also said they had vacancies they could not fill. 

Inflation was another key concern with 25% of firms citing the difficulty of forecasting the rate of price rises as a major drag on business confidence. With the Bank of England now predicting further increases in the coming months, this is bound to be a continuing area of concern. 

Profitability 
BESA is keen to understand how prices and shortages are affecting profitability because material and labour rates are already priced into many contracts. The last time around some respondents said they were spending more time trying to renegotiate rates on existing projects than looking for new work. 

There is clearly demand in the market for the services of specialist contractors, but there are also signs that the wider construction industry is slowing in the face of a consumer spending slowdown and worries about the impact on material availability – most notably steel – caused by the war in Ukraine. 

We do have a good grasp on the wider economic picture, but it is so important for us to understand how this is impacting contractors in their day-to-day operations and the health of their businesses,” said BESA’s director of legal and commercial Debbie Petford 

Getting as many responses as possible to our business survey is invaluable as it helps us understand exactly what members need to help them through these difficult times – and what we should be telling government so it can provide more direct support to the sector.” 

BESA, ECA, SNIPEF and SELECT represent over 5,000 UK businesses. Members have a combined annual turnover of £12 billion, spanning building services, infrastructure, and maintenance work. 

Please respond to the survey here by May 20. 

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