Independent Review – UK Construction Market Handbook

UK Construction Market Handbook
A guide to opportunities in the UK construction market

It will come as no surprise, to those with even a modicum of export experience, that many international businesses, not just those in construction, have difficulty obtaining specific sector and sub-sector information relating to new target markets. This is as true for UK organisations as it is for those based internationally seeking sales in the UK.

The UK construction market is one of the largest in the world.  It is dynamic and hungry for new ideas and product innovations, offering vast opportunities to overseas companies.  Yet its very size and diversity can act as a barrier to those unfamiliar with its procedures and practices.

Naturally, when I was asked to provide a review for Competitive Advantage’s new Handbook, my interest was focussed only on our industry. I was hoping I would find a comprehensive guide which would pull together the informational keys to unlock the main data points to help new market entrants.   Specifically, these points would assist in not just understanding the market, but also navigating its complex sectors, so that exporters could take forward their research and translate it into highly targeted, successful campaigns.  The UK Construction Market Handbook did not disappoint.

The Handbook does indeed provide the fundamental information needed for international businesses to begin their UK export campaign research.  Supported by numerous charts and graphs, it draws on primary data from a variety of industry bodies, and provides the reader with an accurate and up-to-date picture of the current state of the market.  This is all presented in an easy-to-understand style which will be especially welcomed by international export professionals, for many of whom English will be a second language.   This clarity flows through the entire 82 pages, which cover many pertinent areas, from providing comprehensive forecasts through to identifying the main growth drivers for the different sub-sectors – vital for understanding those areas offering the greatest opportunities.

I was delighted to see that the Handbook goes much further than just forecasts, legislative influences and market drivers.   In its compilation, the authors have clearly placed themselves in the shoes of the Export Manager, asking additional questions such as who are the key decision makers?, how are the main forms of construction contracts organised?, and who are the main suppliers?  All these questions, and many more besides, are answered.

One final aspect I was keen to consider was the Handbook’s readability.   I was expecting to see extensive and pertinent information gathered together from various sources, but was apprehensive that the density of the given data might be somewhat dry and heavy-going – a feeling that I thought could be amplified for an overseas-based reader.  I needn’t have worried.  One of the most pleasing aspects of the Handbook is its ability to extract the most salient points from published data, enabling the readers to romp through its numerous chapters at pace, yet leaving them with a rounded and expert overview of the industry.   However, those feeling hungry for more will be well satisfied, as the Handbook is peppered with links to original source materials.

If there are any negative points to be made about the Handbook they are small.  I would have liked to have seen some further information on key communication channels, events and journals, etc.  However, I understand that such a resource has to stop somewhere and, after all, links to sources of this information are provided, too.

In summary, the authors at Competitive Advantage have drawn on a considerable breadth of expertise, which is clearly based on many years of first-hand experience helping construction products manufacturers develop their sales in the UK.   This wealth of experience shows through, culminating in the provision of a comprehensive and essential guide for the exporter.

Written by Darren Jarvis, Director of Construct UK

My Blog - Construction Sales & Marketing Hub



You can find more information about the UK Construction Market Handbook here