Lucy Roper’s weekly Built Environment blog: The big stories in the sector

Posted on: 4 April, 2019

Each week, UCEM Information Governance Manager, Lucy Roper points us in the direction of interesting stories from the Built Environment.

This week, Lucy points us to concerning stories about Brexit-influenced panicking in the construction industry, falling house prices in England and a huge gender imbalance in construction jobs. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as Lucy links to stories about a construction jobs boom and a growth in apprenticeship starts. There is also an update about the progress of The Tulip which Lucy last looked at in November…

UK construction industry hits the panic button

Brexit (I know, I know! Hear me out!) may be turning into a pantomime (oh no, it isn’t…) in Parliament but away from the confines of Westminster, the impact of the process is being felt far more keenly as the country attempts to plan for an as-yet uncertain future.

There have been factory closures and emigration of some firms, and the construction industry has now acted, stockpiling in huge numbers ahead of the B-word.

Long-term investment has given way to short-term investment to protect against possible negative outcomes following Brexit.

House prices fall for first time since 2012

House prices in England fell for the first time in seven years which suggests that the property market is also starting to feel the effects of a stuttering Brexit process.

Men 7-1 Women

No, not the score from a football match but a subheading meant to represent the 7:1 ratio of men to women within the construction industry.

The figures reflect the huge gender imbalance within the industry and the scale of the task as construction figureheads seek to make the work environment more inclusive for all.

Jobs surge on the horizon

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has predicted that the industry will create an additional 168,500 jobs by 2023.

Perhaps an opportunity to invite more women into the profession? Speaking of which, Building People – the Built Environment digital network UCEM acquired in November – is continuing to make positive progress in widening participation throughout the sector by ‘match-making’ jobseekers to employers. Building People aims to join the dots within the Built Environment and could have a significant role to play at this critical juncture for the sector.

Apprenticeship starts increase

Apprenticeship starts have risen for the first time since the introduction of the apprenticeship levy in April 2017. The increase reverses the recent downward trend, and if you run or work on behalf of a business in the Built Environment, have you thought about hiring an apprentice? UCEM offers four apprenticeship programmes with 13 different pathways which could assist your firm.

The Tulip a step closer

The newest landmark to join the London skyline, The Tulip, is set to be approved by planners next week.

Despite opposition from London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, the City of London has written a positive report about the application, stating it has ‘the potential to become an architectural icon’. Next week’s planning committee meeting could rubberstamp the development, paving the way for an additional building to keep your eye out for in the centre of the capital, with its distinctive shape and unignorable height at 305m tall.

What do you think? Will this be a worthwhile addition to London’s evolving skyline architecture? Or do you subscribe to the view that less is more and the building is not needed? Answers on a postcard or by email to!

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For more from Lucy, take a look at the latest edition of Knowledge Foundations.