At our Fresh Start breakfast held in Norwich last week, Senior Partner, Robert Dale gave his thoughts on how much there is to be excited about in 2020:
Not only is it 25 years since I joined DCP, 2020 also marks 25 years since the practice expanded into Norfolk – something of which we are very proud.
The longevity of any practice relies on its people, their loyalty and succession and on that note, we’ve had some exciting practice developments.
Last year saw Chris Talford become an Associate here in Norwich and Jason Froude a Partner, in the London office; having joined the practice as a fresh-faced youth 18 years ago, in 2002.
In 2003, another fresh-faced youth, John Read, walked into the Norwich office, and I am delighted to announce that John has also become a Partner.
As well as its people, any successful practice needs loyal clients and colleagues and it is heartening that we have so many with whom we have been working for the best part of a quarter of a century.
It is of course, through our clients, that we get to work on some really exciting and worthwhile projects. 2020 will see some great projects come to fruition.
To be honest, the forecasts from the experts for the economy in 2020 don’t exactly get the pulse racing.
GDP is predicted to increase by 1.1%
House prices by about 1%
Inflation; the consumer price index by 2%
Tender prices by 3%
So, why should we be excited?
Despite these somewhat humdrum predictions, I think after all the uncertainty of the last few years, the general mood in the country is one of optimism. Although, in reality, the factors that caused the economic uncertainty remain, the political certainty that we now have has released a wave of confidence that I think we should all be excited to catch and make the most of.
We are already seeing that wave of confidence picking up in the private and commercial sectors, with talk of previously stalled jobs being released and new schemes being considered.
2020 is looking to be a busy year for DCP particularly in the areas of housing and education.
Our job list includes not only a higher number of new homes than ever before, but also some really interesting schemes including extra care housing for the elderly and temporary accommodation for the homeless, as well as wonderful individual dwellings and interesting conversions.
And of all our education projects, we are really excited to see the innovative Dyson STEAM building at Gresham’s continuing on its very dynamic programme, with works starting on site in the next few months.
What else have we got to be excited about for 2020?
There are a few trends that have been bubbling away for most of the 25 years that I’ve been at Daniel Connal, but I think that 2020 could be the year they really take off.
The first is pre-fabrication. Whether its volumetric, panel systems or prefabricated components, we are now seeing the advantages of modular building finally take hold.
The second is new technology. When the Norwich office opened 25 years ago there was one computer and emails were non-existent. Year on year we are using more and more technology in our work and most recently our building surveyors, under the guidance of Richard Bedford, are using thermography as an important tool in defect diagnosis.
Could 2020 be the year when sustainability really becomes a project essential? We are expecting a new Part L of the building regulations this year which will once again force improvements in required U values, but perhaps this year we will see more clients choosing to consider the environment beyond the measures that they are forced into by legislation.
As consultants, it must be our responsibility to ensure our clients understand the opportunities for reducing the impact of developments on the environment.
There is one less exciting trend of 2019 that I fear could follow us into 2020 – contractors going into liquidation.
This was a national problem that was, unfortunately, also evident locally. As we see contractors trying to fund a rising market, we will be recommending certain practical measures, backed up by contractual conditions, to reduce the risks and potential impact of a contractor going bust on a project.
2020, March 31st to be precise, also sees the 25th anniversary of the CDM Regulations coming into force. We’ve been involved with Health & Safety from the outset and have recently taken this a step further with the launch of our new DCP Safety and Training brand – an exciting prospect for 2020 and the years ahead.
So, here’s to a Fresh Start and an exciting 2020.