Hudson Contract’s annual review of the construction industry

Managing Director Ian Anfield shines the spotlight on this year’s key events.


It’s been a memorable year for the construction industry – but mostly for the wrong reasons.  We can look back on 2018 with embarrassment about:

  • The house builders that failed to hit government targets whilst paying their directors tens of millions of pounds in salaries, shares and bonuses
  • The collapse of Carillion and the ongoing fallout
  • Crossrail being derailed by delays and cost overruns
  • Tottenham Hotspur going into what might politely be called extra time at Wembley, the builders of their new stadium having failed to deliver in August . . September . . October . . November . . December . .

Most worrying – and shameful – of all has been the lack of response to the Grenfell Tower fire.  This should have been a year of recladding flats, hospitals, and schools across the country to restore confidence in our beleaguered industry.  Yet nobody is willing to pick up the tab.

Which begs the question, where is our so-called Construction Leadership Council, or trade bodies such as Build UK who like to claim credit for speaking for and leading our industry, but always seem to go missing in action when they are needed?

If 2018 has shown us anything, it is that the construction industry is unable to act together as one.  The reality is that it’s founded on sand, with a handful of major contractors mopping up the majority of publicly funded projects.  What’s more, these firms:

  • Seldom deliver their projects on time or on budget
  • Lurch from profit warning to record growth
  • Carry huge debt piles
  • Strangle the cashflow of any supplier brave enough to work for them.
If 2018 has been a year of debate about these issues, then 2019 MUST be a year of action.

Read Ian's predictions for 2019 here

Ian Anfield

Ian Anfield

Managing Director, Hudson Contract

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