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A list of factors causing delays and negatively affecting the construction industry since 2017

Posted on 2/11/2022 at 10:39 AM by in Blog

In 2016 Cornerstone Projects conducted a survey of construction industry professionals on the prevalence and costs of delays in major construction projects. The survey highlighted that the delays were not only a regular occurrence but the financial knock on effects were also significant.

A significant amount has changed since 2016 but has the industry made any significant improvements or are delays still causing the same old problems.

To answer this question we have updated the survey and will be producing the results shortly, submissions will stop shortly but if you would like to have your say, please click here.

But what else has changed since 2016? What factors are still affecting the construction industry today?

It’s no secret that the construction industry has faced some challenges since 2017. Rising material costs, labour shortages, and uncertainty around government regulations have all taken their toll.

Fortunately, there are some factors working in favour of the industry as well. Population growth is driving demand for new homes and businesses – and, thanks to advances in technology, construction firms are becoming more efficient and productive.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the factors affecting the construction industry since 2017.

Digital integration

2 men analysing time constraints on construction project

The construction industry is changing rapidly, and technological factors play a major role in this change. The construction process is becoming more efficient and effective, and new technologies are helping to improve the quality of a construction project.

This is good news for clients, consumers and the industry itself. The changes have been driven by a number of factors, including the rise of new technologies, the increasing availability of data and the need for greater efficiency in construction activities.

One of the most important ways that technology is being used in construction is to improve safety and standardise quality control. Construction is a dangerous industry, and even small improvements in safety can have a big impact.

New technologies are being used to improve both the safety of individual workers and the overall safety of construction sites.

As construction projects integrate new technologies, they can move away from traditional methods of working and introduce more efficient processes. For example, paper-based processes have been replaced by digital methods, and construction companies are now using data to drive decision-making.

Additional focus on sustainability

Since 2017, environmental factors have become an increasingly important issue for the UK construction industry. There are a number of reasons for this, including the growing awareness of the need to reduce our carbon footprint and the impact of climate change.

But of course, this year political factors have introduced the cost of living crisis and consequently, a newfound pressure for construction companies. With sky-high energy bills and inflation rates, it is becoming increasingly expensive to heat and cool buildings.

Construction companies are under pressure to find ways to reduce their energy consumption through more sustainable materials and construction methods.

For example, there is a growing trend for using recycled materials in construction, as well as renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind power.

As well as benefiting environmental factors, sustainability can also have a positive impact on construction costs. Construction companies that adopt sustainable practices often find that they save money in the long run, as they are able to reduce their energy costs.

In addition, sustainable buildings tend to be more popular with tenants and buyers, meaning that they can command higher prices.

As sustainability becomes more important, the UK construction industry is under pressure to change. However, it is clear that there are many benefits to be gained from adopting more sustainable practices.

In the future, we can expect to see more construction companies embracing sustainability in order to save money and support environmental protection.

Improved safety procedures

The change in approach to safety procedures is driven by several different factors, including new legislation and changes in government policy.

The most significant change has been the introduction of the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015, which introduced many new obligations for architects, engineers and other construction professionals.

This has led to a greater focus on safety throughout the industry and has helped to reduce the number of accidents and injuries. Other changes have included the introduction of mandatory site inspections by the Health and Safety Executive, and the introduction of new training requirements for all construction workers.

These changes have had a positive impact on the safety of those working in the construction industry, and have helped to make it one of the safest industries in the UK.

Group in appropriate safety uniform on construction project

Rising material costs

Rising material costs have been a major issue for the UK construction industry in recent years. It’s difficult and expensive to build projects with the rising cost of steel, concrete, and other material.

The price of steel, for example, has increased by more than 30% due to high demand from China. As a result, we have seen delays and cost overruns on many construction projects – making it even more difficult for small businesses to compete.

Skilled labour shortage

The number of EU workers in the sector has fallen sharply since the Brexit vote, and there are not enough British construction workers to fill the gap.

This has led to higher wages and longer hours for those who are still working in the industry – along with delays and cost overruns for many projects.

The government has promised to invest more in training and education to try to address the skills shortage, but it will take time for these measures to have an impact. In the meantime, the construction industry is facing a challenging time and more action is needed to anticipate future skills training.

Economic factors

Between the cost of living crisis, inflation and increased interest rates, the economy has taken quite a hit since 2017. Despite these economic factors, the UK construction industry is still one of the strongest in Europe and is expected to grow in the coming years.

The cost of living crisis hit firms hard – and they have had to increase wages in order to attract and retain construction workers. Inflation has also been a problem as it has increased the cost of materials and equipment.

High-interest rates have made it more expensive for firms to borrow money for larger projects.


The pandemic led to an enormous decrease in the number of new projects started and completed since 2017. Many construction companies focused on completing existing projects rather than starting new ones.

The pandemic also led to a decrease in the number of construction workers available, as many were forced to self-isolate or take on other jobs.

This has led to delays in many projects, as well as an increase in costs. Thankfully, the UK has finally started to move past the pandemic and all the unfinished projects of the last few years can be completed.

Education and research

The UK construction industry has undergone several changes in recent years, thanks in part to advances in education and research.

In 2017, for example, the government announced a new apprenticeship scheme that would help to address the skills shortage in the construction sector. This scheme was designed to provide on-the-job training for young people interested in a career in construction and has since helped to boost the number of qualified workers in the industry.

Similarly, research conducted by universities and other institutions has led to a better understanding of the needs of the construction sector and has resulted in the development of new building materials and methods that are more efficient and sustainable.

As a result of these changes, the UK construction industry is in a much stronger position than it was a few years ago and is well-placed to meet the challenges of the future.

Moving forward with Cornerstone Projects

construction development plans

Since 2017, there have been numerous political, economic and social factors that have impacted the construction industry. From the pandemic to the recent cost of living crisis, the last five years have been far from smooth sailing and that’s where Cornerstone Projects comes in.

We are here to make your construction project just a little easier with our utility plans – designed for anyone needing to locate buried utilities. We collect information from all the relevant utility companies on your behalf and deliver a detailed view of what’s going on beneath the soil.

Whether you’re in the acquisition or construction phase of your project, we’re here to help you spot any hurdles before they turn into much bigger problems.

The last five years have been challenging – but with Cornerstone Projects, you can eliminate any potential underground utility problems later down the line.

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