Building services engineering sector still confident about future business prospects

Almost half of the building services engineering sector remain confident about future business prospects, according to a new survey released this week.

The survey, conducted by the Electrical Contractors’ Association, the Building Engineering Services Association and the leading Scottish electrical trade body SELECT, covered the entire building services engineering sector, which comprises approximately 40% of the UK’s construction and maintenance industry.

When contemplating the future, many are optimistic with 46% of respondents believing that Brexit would have a positive impact on their company within five years’ time, with 19% feeling it would have a negative impact within five years’ time.

Within the survey results there was a discernible difference in perspective depending on the turnover of the company. Those with higher turnover were less optimistic about the short term business prospects, while small scale enterprises were clearly optimistic about potentials for business growth. 

A possible explanation for the decrease in optimism for larger companies is that there is a greater reliance on European nationals. 71% of large scale contractors reported that they do not rely on EU workers, as opposed to the remainder of respondents for which 92% reported that they do not rely on EU workers.

Across all respondents only 25% felt that Brexit would ‘worsen the shortage of qualified workers’, with only one in six respondents putting freedom of movement as a top priority when negotiating future UK/EU relations.

Similar to other sectors, maintaining access to the EU’s ‘Single Market’ was put at the top of preferences for EU membership withdrawal. This is tied to the belief by 47% of respondents that the cost of materials will rise for their businesses operations. 

While initial market fluctuations were seen within the sector, in this sector it seems that leaders have turned many Brexit fears into opportunities for business.


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