At the DCP Fresh Start Breakfast, held in Norwich on 11 January, Senior Partner, Robert Dale, took a look at the outlook for the industry in 2019.

January; the month of resolutions, optimism, fresh starts and the ideal time to consider what 2019 might bring.

Given where we are politically there is probably only one thing that is certain for 2019 and that is uncertainty.

Uncertainty is almost undeniably not great for business growth and investment but, to be fair, I can’t remember a period in recent years when we really have had certainty.

And whilst uncertainty may, to a certain extent, be damaging for business, I believe that the constructive impact of taking the opportunities on offer can outweigh uncertainty and be a far more positive influence.

What’s more a period of uncertainty doesn’t mean we are facing a period without opportunity. Particularly in the local market.

First, the economy as a whole.

All the economic and market predictions for the year ahead, carry a massive degree of uncertainty. But what do the expert economist predict for 2019?  The following figures are the average of independent forecasts, collected by the Treasury.

Consumer Price Inflation is anticipated to rise by 2%, coming down to the Government’s target

UK GDP is predicted to rise by 1.5%

Fixed investment which includes new construction is forecast at 1.7%

We are told to expect a quarter of a per cent rise in interest rates to 1% before the end of 2019.

Predictions on house price inflation seem to vary significantly with an average of 2%, but there is hope locally that the Eastern Region will again outperform, whilst London remains stagnant

As far as the FTSE100 and Exchange rates are concerned the only consensus seems to be… volatility.

So what of the Construction Industry?

The Office of National Statistics suggests that whilst there is unlikely to be any growth in public housing , last year’s 6% growth of private housing is likely to reduce to 2% this year.

Reports over the new year suggested that we are likely to build fewer houses in this decade than any decade since the Second World War. That’s pretty scary given the current housing shortage.

The Government’s austerity measures have hit public non-housing development hard but 4-6% per cent growth is now anticipated – with increased spending in particular on education and health. Similar growth is also anticipated in infrastructure.

Uncertainty is being blamed for output continuing to fall in the private commercial sector, but conversely private industrial growth is expected to increase by 4%

What’s the future for building costs?

The Building Cost Information Service are really hedging their bets.

They have published their figures based on three scenarios; an upside, a downside and a “central scenario”

In an upside scenario, where we get early certainty of favourable trade deals with Europe & the rest of the world.  The tender price index is likely to rise by 4.8% over the coming year.

In a downside scenario, which is basically recession, tender prices could fall by 3.5%, which for someone intending to build this year or the year after, before prices pick up again, may well be good.

The central scenario, however, is still predicting tender prices rising above inflation at 3.2%

Don’t you just love Statistics?

Given my initial premise, that the only thing certain was uncertainty, I think the upside scenario is unlikely. Whatever happens, I’m too optimistic to think that we will go into recession.  So, I think that we will be suggesting a 3% rise in tender prices over the year – but don’t quote me on that!

I do however, think that the scenarios that affect these statistics also bring some exciting opportunities.

In the housing sector, the medium to long-term measures introduced by the government in the 2017 Autumn budget should start to take effect.  And over the coming years, in meeting government housing targets, this sector is going to get busy.

I also think that the cost equation of estate housing is finally going to tip in favour of modular construction, which could allow the exciting advances we see in modern methods of construction really taking hold.

From a personal point of view, I’m hoping that with innovation in construction, we might get to see an acceptance of more varied styles of domestic architecture in appropriate settings too.

A lack of prestige housing on the market and high stamp duty, means we are still seeing a real appetite for owner occupiers to undertake significant redevelopment of existing plots or properties. I can’t see any reason why this won’t continue.

As I mentioned earlier, we are anticipating increased government spending on health and education but we are also seeing expenditure in the ever competitive private schools and further education sectors, with schools and universities constantly improving the facilities on offer.

Furthermore, there remain really enthusiastic communities who work incredibly hard to deliver services from buildings that once might have been provided by the public sector…. be it hospices, nurseries, free schools or other community buildings.

Apparently, it’s all doom and gloom in the retail world?  Admittedly, it’s a challenging market but that in itself is providing opportunities. Shops are having to change.  We’re told that what consumers want is a retail experience.

Those changes are themselves bringing opportunities.  Retail is merging with both hospitality and leisure and the strength of the tourism sector in Norfolk, where we are seeing year-round tourism allows for continued local investment.

The economic pressures referred to earlier mean that many landowners or asset managers are looking at projects that will either reduce long term liabilities or introduce or increase a commercial return.  For those sitting in tourist settings they have increased options.

Perversely the permitted developments that allowed many of our city centre offices to become residential means that there is a lack of good quality office space.  Could we even see speculative office developments return to our cities?

We are still seeing our industrial clients wanting more manufacturing and warehouse space and we are particularly lucky in East Anglia with the off -shore sector.

Meanwhile existing buildings, what-ever sector they serve, will still need maintaining – so even when we are standing still in our industry we are faced with opportunity.

So, in spite of some pretty sobering national statistics, and inevitable uncertainty, I think that there is plenty to feel optimistic about.

We are lucky, here at Daniel Connal to be working across all these sectors and providing a wide range of services from project management, quantity and building surveying through to health & safety and dispute resolution.

So we’re more than ready to reach out for these opportunities.

Here’s to 2019, inevitable uncertainty and opportunity!

Taken from a speech originally given at DCP’s Fresh Start Business Breakfast, in Norwich on 11 January, 2019.

SIMON JACKLIN

SENIOR PARTNER

Simon Jacklin BSC FRICS IMaPS MAE

“ I enjoy the buzz of helping clients unlock asset value in property through innovative design and refurbishment solutions”

I joined the Daniel Connal Partnership in 1994, became a Partner in 1997 and Joint Senior Partner in 2011.  My time is split between fee earning work, the management of the business and business development.

I am a Chartered Building Surveyor, Chartered Project Management Surveyor and an Incorporated Member of the Association of Project Safety.

My areas of expertise are Project Management, Dilapidations, Party Wall Advice and Defect Diagnosis.  I also act as an Expert Witness and am a member of the Academy of Experts.

Outside of work I am a keen sailor and have recently given in to the middle aged man’s craze of cycling around in tight lycra.  I am also a frustrated Ipswich Town Supporter.

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ROBERT DALE

SENIOR PARTNER

Robert Dale BSc(Hons) CEMDipFM FRICS FCABE IMaPS

“I love the teamwork in delivering a project, but relish the knowledge that our singular input is making a real difference.”

I have been joint Senior Partner of Daniel Connal Partnership since 2011, having joined the practice in 1995 and been made Partner in 1999.

As a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, Chartered Building Surveyor, Incorporated Member of the Association of Project Safety and experienced project manager, I enjoy helping our clients deliver their ideas for their property through successful building projects.  It is my aim that our staff enjoy their work and that we always provide the best service we can.

When I am not working I enjoy being active and spending time with my family and friends.

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JONATHAN DENNIS

PARTNER

Jonathan Dennis MA, MRICS

“As an experienced Quantity Surveyor I strive to ensure that all of our clients achieve the best possible value for money when undertaking construction works.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership in 2011 as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, was made an associate at the start of 2015 and Partner in January 2016.

I have wide ranging experience in sectors across the industry, including Urban Regeneration, Social Housing, Industrial and Manufacture, Education, Defence, Local Authority and Health and have recently enjoyed developing my knowledge of the conservation of buildings with Listed and Ancient Monument status.

When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a keen cyclist and also enjoy a leisurely walk around the golf course.

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ANDREW LONG

ASSOCIATE

Andrew Long, MEng, MSc, MRICS

“As a surveyor I delight in the opportunity and knowledge that we have a direct impact on shaping the future, bringing buildings back into service and the prospect of leaving a lasting but sustainable impression on the earth.”

I became an Associate in 2011 having joined the practice in 2010.

As a Chartered Building Surveyor, with areas of expertise in Design, Contract Administration, Project Management, Defects Diagnosis, Building Surveys and Dilapidations, I endeavour to provide our clients with the best service to enhance, preserve and obtain the maximum returns on their diverse property portfolios and building projects.

Outside of work I am in demand from my young family and friends in various active pursuits.

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JONATHAN RENSINK

ASSOCIATE

Jonathan Rensink, Tech.IOSH, AIIRSM, IMaPS

“By working hard and supporting others, you won’t be far off the quote that I take great inspiration from. “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

I joined DCP in 1999 and was made an Associate in 2013.

A NEBOSH qualified Health and Safety Consultant; my areas of expertise are Health & Safety, CDM 2015 and the provision of Fire Safety and Risk Management advice.

Outside of work I enjoy walking, badminton and football, taking a keen interest in my local football club, Wivenhoe Town.

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JASON FROUDE

PARTNER

Jason Froude BSc (Hons) MRICS

“As an experienced Chartered Surveyor, my number one aim is to deliver success in terms of my Client’s expectations”

Having joined the Daniel Connal Partnership in 2002, I was made an Associate in 2013 and became a Partner in the London office in 2018. I am a Chartered Building Surveyor, with over 15 years experience and a wide ranging skill base over many industry sectors specialising in Project Management, Party Wall, Building Surveys and CDM Advice.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and Association of Project Safety.

Lucky enough to have the Surrey Hills on my door step, I am a keen rambler, cycling enthusiast and lawn bowler for my local Lawn Bowls team. For my sins I am also a Crystal Palace Supporter.

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JOHN READ

ASSOCIATE

JOHN READ BSC (HONS) GRAD DIP MRICS MFPWS RMAPS

“It gives me great pride to take projects from inception to completion whilst working closely with the clients to meet their design and cost expectations through construction knowledge, design acumen and property expertise”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership in 2003 as a trainee Building Surveyor with a BSc in Geography and then undertook a post graduate conversion course at Anglia Ruskin University. I became a Chartered Building Surveyor in 2010 and was made an Associate of the Practice at the start of 2015.

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Association of Project Safety and the Faculty of Party Wall Surveyors.

I have a wide ranging skill base over many industry sectors specialising in Design, Contract Administration, Party Wall and CDM Co-ordination.

When not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I am a keen cricketer and partake in weekly five a side football. I am fortunate to live in the Norfolk countryside and enjoy the benefits of long country walks and sunny days at the beach.

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PAUL COLEMAN

ASSOCIATE

PAUL COLEMAN BSC MCIOB MRICS

“I look to use my varied career experience to the benefit of each client and to produce the best outcome on every project”

I was appointed Associate at the Colchester Office in January 2016 having joined the Practice in January 2015.

I am both a Chartered Quantity Surveyor and Chartered Construction Manager and have over 30 years’ experience working in both private practice and for contractors. I also have familiarity with the client’s perspective having overseen redevelopment of the buildings at my Church.

My varied experience & knowledge enables me to provide a balanced view on projects for the benefit of all parties involved in the construction process.

I am a Deacon & Trustee of my Baptist Church in Ipswich; enjoy theatre, visiting National Trust Properties and a game or two of tennis in the summer months.

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COLIN BARNETT

ASSOCIATE

Colin Barnertt BSC, MRICS, MCIOB

“I have been involved on a wide spectrum of projects working with the Client and Design Team. I enjoy seeing the initial concept develop to become a physical space knowing that I have been a part of and have contributed to that process”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership as an Associate of the Practice in August 2016.

I have over 25 years experience in private practice including being seconded to Client teams and a brief spell of working overseas. During this time I have gained experience in infrastructure, residential, healthcare, education and retail sectors working on projects from inception through to completion

I am a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Builders.

I enjoy playing the electric guitar, cycling around Epping Forest and the occasional round of golf, limited to when the sun is shining.

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RICHARD BEDFORD

ASSOCIATE

Richard Bedford DIP SURV MRICS MCIAT

“As an experienced Chartered Building Surveyor my key aim is always to act with my client’s best interests in mind, delivering high quality building surveying services to them at all times.”

I became an Associate of the practice in November 2016, having joined DCP earlier that year.

I am a Chartered Building Surveyor and Chartered Architectural Technologist with over 28 years experience across a wide range of industry sectors.

A Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and of the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, I also act as an RICS APC mentor for the building surveying pathway, helping candidates achieve Chartered status.

When not out surveying buildings I am an avid wildlife photographer and an agency photographer for the RSPB.

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ALASTAIR CLARK

CONSULTANT

Alastair Clark BSc (Hons) MRICS

“It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to be involved with projects, especially seeing a completed building knowing that I have added value by taking a proactive approach to cost and risk management through all the stages of design and construction.”

I joined Daniel Connal Partnership as a Senior Quantity Surveyor in 2005.

Progressing to Associate in 2007, I was made Partner in charge of the Colchester office in 2011, with additional responsibility for Ball Hall (Project Management) Ltd (BHPM) from April 2012, when DCP took over their long time sports hall project management partner.

In January 2017 I became the Managing Director of Ball Hall (Project Management) Ltd.

When not flying the BHPM flag, I enjoy the occasional hack around a golf course or game of football. I am also, for my sins, a life-long supporter of West Ham.

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BOB JUNIPER

CONSULTANT

Bob Juniper FRICS FFB FCIARB

“I see surveying in its various forms as the means of providing one’s own expertise for the benefit of clients….. and satisfied clients make satisfied surveyors”

I joined what was then Daniel B Connal & Partners in 1964 straight from School and retired as Senior Partner of the Daniel Connal Partnership in 2010. I remain actively supporting DCP with its services, particularly those for Ball Hall Projects, whilst acting regularly as a Mediator, Adjudicator, Arbitrator and Expert Witness in my own right.

I am a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

My areas of expertise are Quantity Surveying, Project Management, Contract Administration and Dispute Resolution.

When not in the office, family life happily occupies a lot of my time, and I escape to the golf course or fish for trout when time permits. I am also a Trustee of Headway Essex.

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