Small construction firms shake off Brexit concerns as confidence is sky-high with investments in the works

Rebecca Smith
Subcontractors are expecting a boost in work volumes over the next few months
Subcontractors are expecting a boost in work volumes over the next few months (Source: Getty)

Confidence among small construction firms is on the rise as three quarters of subcontractors plan to invest in their business in the coming months.

According to the latest SME Confidence Tracker report from business funder Bibby Financial Services (BFS), surveying 1,000 business owners, confidence is bouncing back after uncertainty jitters relating to Britain's vote to leave the European Union last June.

Read more: Slow growth for housing sector drags on British construction industry

Half of construction small and medium-sized businesses expect work volumes to increase over the next three months; the highest level since before the EU referendum.

And businesses have set their sights on investment opportunities. Between April and July, firms plan to invest an average of £10,000 in areas such as staff training, recruitment and machinery.

Nearly three quarters of construction firms planning to invest over the next three months was a figure notably higher than the national average across all sectors, which BFS said was 59 per cent.

Helen Wheeler, managing director of construction finance at BFS, said: “There was a collective confidence wobble amongst construction firms after the referendum last year.

However, we are now seeing a step-change in attitudes amongst smaller construction businesses, with more firms looking to invest and grow. Work volumes are also rising, which is a positive indicator, particularly in light of wider economic uncertainty surrounding the UK’s separation from the EU.

It’s encouraging to see construction businesses investing in people and machinery as such activity has a positive multiplier effect on supply chains throughout the entire country.

Additionally, half of subcontractors said they thought Brexit would make no difference to their business at all, higher than the average across all sectors of 42 per cent.

Of the concerns they did have going forward, smaller construction firms flagged finding and keeping quality staff was their main problem, while a third said winning new customers was a key challenge, and a similar amount said cashflow was a particular headache.

Read more: Mark Carney to banks: We want your Brexit plans

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