Posted on 8th October 2020
A national survey of construction companies published by Worthing and Gatwick-based chartered accountants MHA Carpenter Box, alongside their national association MHA, reveals a stark divide in how construction companies in the South East and beyond have fared during the COVID-19 crisis.
In line with national trends, almost half (49%) of companies said the impact of COVID-19 has been substantial; 44% stated it had had only minimal impact on their business; and only 5% described the damage was critical. Future expectations also showed a divide, with almost a third reporting that business activity was now back to normal, while 30% believed it would take over a year to return to pre-pandemic levels.
The biggest concern, shared by 61% of respondents, is economic uncertainty. Supply chain disruption also ranked high on the list of worries, mentioned by 45% of respondents, with 32% concerned about cashflow, which reflects the industry’s strong balance sheets, low debt risk and improved turnover pre-pandemic.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Robert Dowling, Head of Construction and Real Estate at MHA and MHA Carpenter Box, said: “Construction businesses in the South East have generally adapted well since lockdown was lifted. They are managing sites to ensure activity can continue, whilst adhering to social distancing measures by spreading workforces around sites.
“Inevitably there are delays and completion dates are being put back, which in turn is expected to have some impact on funding by increasing the cost of capital.
“The future however is very uncertain. Government projects are now the most likely source of revival for the sector; housebuilding, although currently buoyed up by strong demand is likely to suffer from a rise in unemployment; and commercial building is unlikely to thrive, with many companies questioning whether they need as much office space as before.”
"“Sutton Winson have been members of the BHBPA for around 7 years. We have found it a great way to keep in touch with Burgess Hill businesses and to meet with likeminded people. It’s not just another “networking” group, as it tackles the real issues and gets things done”"
"This association was started with a lot of effort from a few local businessmen and has proved to be a very powerful and useful tool for our business. The BHBPA has influence at the top level; when action is needed, the BHBPA gets it done. We are kept in touch with all that is happening on our doorstep and will often act because of what is published in the weekly emails / newsletters."
"The BHBPA is a fantastic hub for our business community to get together and catch up, discuss important local issues and connect new and interesting enterprises."
"“I can’t speak highly enough of the BHBPA. As a small local business we feel very much part of a community and thoroughly enjoy the annual exhibition and meetings throughout the year. Over the years we have built fantastic working relationships with many BHBPA members and every meeting and event offers us opportunities to work with more. This is networking at its best! ” "