All the signals show that we are finally seeing the end of the recession in UK construction, with the forecasts just published by the Construction Products Association indicating that after a small fall this year, there will be 2.7 per cent growth next year followed by a 4.6 per cent increase in 2015.
So, now is the time for businesses to come out of hibernation and start taking action to endure the benefits from growth.
One opportunity is green construction, which is now centre stage in the construction industry.
For construction companies, particularly the smaller contractor, this is not something to ignore and leave to your big competitors. It is an opportunity to stand out as a forward-looking company, but also to save your customers money and improve your profitability.
Not all bad
There has been much criticism of the Green Deal, the government’s programme to reduce carbon emissions from existing building stock.
But while the Green Deal has failed to meet expectations, mainly due to the lack of government promotion and the unattractive finance package, it is still raising awareness of the benefits of sustainability.
Research into why people took out assessments shows that 61 per cent wanted to save money on their energy bills – and that was before the recent hike in prices.
I’m sure that statistic applies to all clients across the UK, both residential and business.
You don’t need to spend money on becoming a Green Deal assessor, provider or installer. But you should know about energy-saving measures which you can then suggest to your clients, either as part of existing projects or as a means of generating additional work.
Also, by introducing these and other green measures such as reducing waste into your own business, you will be able to cut costs, save carbon and grow your business.
Get yourself noticed
At the moment, being green is still a differentiator helping you to stand out from the competition.
To help small companies learn about green measures, the Green Construction Board is organising a series of breakfast events around the country. The first was this week at the new M&S Cheshire Oaks store.
This not only presented top tips to help companies be greener but explained what funding and other support is available to the SME to take action.
So don’t delay, use green as a means of differentiating your business and reducing costs for yourself and your clients.
To learn more about the Green Construction Board breakfast events go to the CITB web page.
Chris Ashworth is founder of Competitive Advantage Consultancy which specialises in strategy, market research and sales training for the construction industry. He serves on the Promotional Working Group of the government’s Green Construction Board and is also a member of the organising committee for CIMCIG, the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Construction Industry Group