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As 2023 draws to a close, Sean Keyes, Chief Executive at Sutcliffe, touches on several topics related to the construction industry, marking his predictions for 2024:

“Looking ahead to 2024, it is my view that the construction industry will remain robust and at some point, there is bound to be a change in government with both political parties under pressure to build more homes to reduce the housing shortage and replace schools and hospitals that have been blighted by the RAAC saga, especially as they have not been replaced at their original intended design life. This will be a boost for the construction sector and will recreate wealth and improve quality of life.”

Sean shared his thoughts on the current RAAC crisis that hit the UK last year, and how to avoid these issues repeating in the future:

“There is great pressure to innovate within the construction sector, and modern methods of construction are being embraced to reduce construction costs, improve sustainability and tackle the labour shortage. However, this represents only a small proportion of the construction sector, which reflects the reality of the reluctance to change as in 1970 RAAC concrete was viewed as a modern method of construction – hence some people’s caution. The use of modern methods will undoubtedly grow in 2024.

Sean is hopeful that this year will see an end to the rising costs and believes that this would have a beneficial impact on the industry:

“Surprisingly as inflation cools, the positivity that this brings to the industry can be easily and quickly felt which will hopefully mean that in 2024, we see the first reduction in interest rates since December 2021. This will then enable prospective purchasers to buy homes more in line with historical interest rates. This would be a boost to home ownership and the economy and will be quickly felt. Sadly I don’t believe we will see interest rates below 1% again in my lifetime.

Sean expressed that in 2024, there needs to be a collective focus on targeting net zero:

“The UK economy is on a path to net zero which won’t be achieved overnight and the minute we start to fully embrace it, we will start to see positive changes. I do believe this will lead to major and significant growth of the UK economy and if we embrace it, we will regain some of our prestige on the world stage. Personally, I would like to see all of the terraced houses in all northern cities receive government grants to reduce the energy waste in these homes. What a difference this would make!”

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