Industry Health Check: Symptoms of Failure and Poor Performance

Rebekah Valero-Lee Building, Construction and Infrastructure


construction symptoms The construction industry and the clients that rely on it are at a critical juncture. In his review of the UK construction labour model, ‘Modernise or Die‘, Mark Farmer highlights the need to seriously review the future.

Farmer suggests that there is a reluctance to address the deep rooted problems that have affected the industry for numerous years. But what are these problems? Or construction ‘symptoms’ as Farmer calls them. Our infographic highlights these symptoms which have the potential to disturb the current and future state of the industry in more ways than one.

Sitting behind these ten features and characteristics, Farmer believes, are three identified root causes that explain not only why we see these issues in the industry but also confirm why things may not change without strategic intervention.

The first is that the industry has evolved a ‘survivalist’ shape, structure and set of commercial behaviours in reaction to the environment in which it operates. That environment is fundamentally characterised by low capital reserves and high demand cyclicality.

The second is that the industry and its clients usually have non-aligned interests reinforced by traditional procurement protocols and a deep-seated cultural resistance to change which pervades across both parties.

Finally, the third root cause as we call it, is that there is no strategic incentive or implementation framework in place to overcome the issues above and initiate  large-scale transformational change. The issues of variable demand, resistance to change and lack of alignment / integration with clients have become accepted norms for the industry.

In conclusion, it’s evident as Farmer suggests, that the construction industry and its labour model is at a critical crossroads in terms on its long-term health. Therefore, there is no time like the present to make some key changes to the industry. Read more on how construction can transform communities here.

Want a career in construction? Map out your career here. Or what to see what projects are on the horizon? Check out our construction timeline to find out more about the future of the industry.

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