The report was researched by consultants Knibb Gormezano & Partners (KGP) and co-sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
Hosted by CEA’s chief executive Rob Oliver and introduced by the reports co-author – KGP’s Alex Woodrow – the study revealed that that the UK Construction Sector ranked number one in Europe with a 24% market share.
The report also underlined that Brexit had not had a direct impact on sales of construction machinery in the UK and showed record revenue for the construction equipment industry in 2018, with sales of £13 billion, up by 18% on the benchmark set for 2013.
The UK was the largest producer of construction equipment in Europe in 2018, and the 5th largest in the world – producing in excess of 60,000 units – earning manufacturers around £13 billion in revenue.
Around 60% of UK machine exports are outside the EU, but component suppliers are more reliant on the EU. Value is skewed towards niche products with ADT’s, crushers and screens a major UK export.
Since 2016 the National Infrastructure delivery plan 2016-2021 has set out investment plans for government spending on transport, energy and other infrastructure.
Rob Oliver highlighted that the confidence in the sector is due in part to massive infrastructure projects like High Speed 2 (HS2), Hinkley Point C and Highways England’s current £15 billion five-year roads programme (RP1).
The Government has committed to further significant infrastructure investment and aims to expand the current housebuilding programme by another 30% to 300,000 new homes a year. 2017 was a record year for new infrastructure and housing projects, with a value of around £106.5 billion.
The industry has continued to innovate, invest and develop new products and services to meet customer demand since 2014, despite investment in the Stage V products. Investment in R&D increased a further 10% in 2018 to £220 million and there has been a significant rise in manufacturers’ use of digitalisation and automation which is set to continue.
There are 1,500 companies in the construction equipment supply chain, with a total direct workforce of 42,000.
The report also uncovered that one of the biggest challenges facing the industry remains that of skills. The skills gap for UK construction equipment operators and manufacturers is widening.
Technological advancements expected in the sector in the next 10-15 years are going to broaden this gap even further, particularly with emerging technologies. Automation and autonomy can fill that gap, but it is still considered a big challenge for the industry.