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Managing to survive a downturn: Steve Corcoran, chief executive, Speedy Hire

“The market has definitely tightened further in recent weeks but the diversity and depth of the plant hire industry’s customer base provides a degree of insulation from a downturn.

“Construction’s biggest client – the public sector – remains committed to major pre-budgeted capital expenditure programmes.

In recent weeks the Government has announced plans to fast-track construction projects and Boris Johnson has pledged to push ahead with major infrastructure projects in the capital.

“This provides a relative degree of certainty for contractors’ order books and hence for the hire industry too.

“A drying-up of credit will obviously create challenges for hire companies. But equally, growing pressure on main contractors to optimise their capital and keep cost off their balance sheets will encourage companies to hire rather than purchase.

“The procurement models adopted by today’s better clients are long-term frameworks and other partnering-led agreements. These have created far deeper and stronger relationships than old-world tendering.

“The business model of the industry’s major players has also evolved. Most are well diversified across multiple sectors – into utilities and infrastructure – making them more insulated against economic downturn.”