Now that winter is upon us and we’re back to being knee deep in mud (but free of midges!) it’s the all too familiar “get it finished by Christmas” self-imposed deadline bearing down upon us. The prevailing conditions in the construction industry are some of the strangest I have ever encountered – a glut of work, no shortage of projects in the pipeline yet dire economic predictions and rampant inflation surround us. Its extremely hard to judge where this will land but one thing that seems to be constant: there is a critical labour shortage everywhere. Linearchitecture is currently short-handed, all our currently engaged contractors are struggling for workers, deliveries are taking longer, lead times are extending and don’t get me started on the lack of people in statutory authorities! With no end in sight to the poor political leadership afflicting this country or any end in sight to the wilding fluctuating material pricing I suspect we just have to accept it and get the heads down and carry on.
So in that vein it’s a good time to review what’s coming up. Arcadia House in Dryen has been approved for planning, our cycling bothies in Aberfoyle are still labouring though planning but we expect to get these delivered in the first phase for summer 2023, our trio of big houses will be finished by mid-February with one more starting in January. We are having a go at a large housing scheme in the Highlands and Achara House is inching towards the home straight. So as ever, it’s a very mixed bag…our unwritten corporate motto: Never be Boring.
It’s been a miserable and wet winter and I’ve spent far too much time standing outside in the mud, rain and sleet – but its funny how a week or two of good weather and all of that is forgotten. Spring / Summer 2022 brings a lot of project delivery as well as a lot of projects being tee’d up for next year. We have Dulat House, Millburn House, The Outlaw Lodge and Bothan na Sroine all on-site and aiming for summer/autumn completions. We have Dualt House going through planning, Arcadia Artist’s Residence getting ready to go into planning and we’re still figuring out Little Duchray – so there’s a lot to do and not enough hands. With that in mind we are now looking for a Part 2 or recently qualified Part 3 to join the team. The work is very diverse, the atmosphere very relaxed and the coffee is great! Watch this space for more details and a properly worded job description in the next few weeks.
Every New Year – without fail, people make firm decisions. Those decisions – in building terms usually mean Go! They rarely mean Whoa! So naturally we are swamped with clients wanting their projects to get out of the New Year blocks running. This New Year is suffering from a large pent-up demand for construction starts. Last year we were still in a lockdown of sorts and any delays caused by that and holdouts waiting for material prices to drop are all, quite rightly, very keen to start. We now have a severe shortage of trained construction staff right across the industry and this is not going to improve in the short term (or even the medium term) so the issues of last year’s material price inflation have now merely been replaced with labour cost inflation. I have always told clients that there is no optimum time to start a project – just look around, assess the market, budget for the hurdles…and get cracking!
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