The UK’s construction industry would benefit from improving its image and economic performance, according to a new report by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

The study suggested that the industry is not performing as well as it could due to outdated traditional practices, underinvestment and lack of diversity.

The recession also took its toll on the industry, forcing construction companies to take on contracts with tight margins, whilst battling increased production costs due to inflation.

Jonathan Hook, global leader for the construction sector at PwC, said:

“All we read about in the construction sector is house prices and the housing shortage. Boom time may well be the case for house-builders but it isn’t currently the situation more broadly for the sector.

“Our message is don’t waste the lessons from this downturn and what you’ve learned about the sector because there is an awful lot that could be done to improve things in the industry.”

The insight team at ICAEW suggested five recommendations for improving the sector.

These included better collaboration with government and other construction companies, more responsible bidding for contracts, addressing the shortage of skilled labour, more transparent reporting and investment in information systems.

Phil Westerman, head of national construction at Grant Thornton, said:

“The market is taking time to react and there is no time for complacency. The sector needs to act now to maximise its potential for growth. And better collaboration and taking that longer-term view and a well-planned approach to the future will enable the sector to make the most of the opportunities available and to make more effective and informed decisions.”

Photo by Mr Hayata