Optimism in uncertain times
Stuart Carter, director and head of development at Lancashire-based property and building consultancy Anderton Gables, gives his view on the current situation
With unprecedented times, comes uncertainty, yet there remains a sense of optimism in what the future holds for many in the residential sector.
Although the current restrictions have taken their toll on many residential schemes with site closures across the North West, many are looking to align their operations for what the future may bring and in readiness to move forward with speed as and when able.
Having worked closely over the past five years with a variety of Registered Providers (RP’s) throughout the North West, it is becoming clear that many are optimistic with what the future holds.
With various sites being closed due to the implications of social distancing to a ensure safe working environment and a shortage throughout the supply chain on materials and labour, there are still sites that are remaining active.
With diversification in their application of the Covid-19 restrictions, many have been able to provide a safe environment for the site operatives – a point that the government keenly supports wherever possible.
Although many of our clients having seen sites temporarily close, this hasn’t deterred many of them from progressing on pre-contract matters, looking to drive forward various developments through the design stage and planning with many adopting modern forms of communication. The forefront of which is video calling!
Although not a new concept, it is the preferred method being adopted by many. Enabling many to stay in contact, whilst seeing a smiling face and more importantly allowing for design team meetings to continue to drive schemes forward under a sense of optimism that things will soon return to normal.
Communication remains a key component in maintaining a sense of normality in these challenging times – providing you have a good internet connection that is(!), but could the adoption of video call meetings become the norm? Time will no doubt tell…one thing is for sure; they’re definitely working for now.
We are seeing some green shoots in the wider industry, with some of the larger construction firms looking to reopen sites – whilst still obeying the current restrictions – being a welcomed sign to the industry that there is optimism.
Could this be seen as steeling a march ahead of the competition? There is likely to be a surge in demand when many sites do reopen, with order slots and material availability, together with labour being in high demand. Nevertheless, it does offer promise that the market will recover.
Although there’s been a significant effect on the industry, unlike the financial crash in 2008, the economy has been supported by intervention from the government, offering a lifeline to many.
This period could be viewed as a welcomed break with many taking this time of uncertainty as a period of reflection and focus, to take stock and look to the future – a luxury few had previously with the relentless pace of life.
‘In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity’ Albert Einstein.