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Plant tool hire businesses flourish amid UK flood disaster

2013 ended on a high for the UK construction industry.

As shown by the Markit/CIPS Construction PMI survey, the sector was ahead of expectations for the month of December, highlighting the eighth month of continuous growth and putting construction companies in good stead for heading into 2014.

Housing has been the main contributor for the rising prospects of the construction sector and the government’s Help to Buy Scheme has helped to drive things forward. However, programmes like this are restricted in terms of funding caps – the Help to Buy Scheme is to be capped at £12bn.

This makes it ever more important for businesses within the construction industry to grab hold and take advantage of every prospect that comes their way – the floods proving to be one of them.

Demand for pumps

The floods of winter 2014 wreaked havoc on my recent trip to visit relatives in the West Country and I witnessed first-hand the huge relief effort that is currently taking place by the emergency services, supported by plant tool hire companies who are equipping local residents and businesses with the essential equipment needed to salvage their properties and commercial premises.

Pumps are being used in abundance along with dehumidifiers, heaters, vacuums and generators in an attempt to lessen the devastating effects the floods have caused so far.

After witnessing these scenes, it comes as no surprise to me that the government has been forced to announce 42 new flood defence schemes for 2014-15 in an attempt to protect approximately 42,000 households.

That, however, is a drop in the ocean compared to the reported 2.4m properties in England alone which are at risk of flooding, with half a million of those marked as at significant risk. If the majority of these households remain vulnerable to the flood risk, the UK construction industry will be set to flourish as the demand for plant tool hire equipment continues to soar.

Increased hire business

Companies including Kier, JCB, Osborne, HSS Hire, Andrews Sykes and Brandon Tool Hire have been making their services available to local communities in an effort to broaden the flood relief effort.

Andrews Sykes have supplied their dehumidifiers and building dryers across the country and have proven to have sufficient supplies in order to keep up with the heightened demand. Both Brandon Hire and HSS Hire offer an emergency flood call-out service and, as well as Sykes, are providing residents and commercial businesses with all the flood assistance equipment they need.

The floods have negatively impacted upon the transport and farming industries in particular, causing concern for the derailment of the economic recovery.

The construction industry, however, looks set to bask in its positive outlook for a while longer as it benefits not only from the flood relief effort but also the rebuild of these ravaged regions once they commence.

Philip McCreanor is head of the industrial team at Livingstone.

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