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Updated: Dec 21, 2022

As we approach the end of 2022, our MD Oliver West, reflects on the challenges and trends that have shaped the construction industry this year, the impact on the Vale Southern team, and what lies ahead.

The past 12 months haven’t been easy for anyone working in construction. Materials shortages, rising costs and political unrest, have made planning and management more difficult than ever before. But despite these hurdles, our pipeline has remained strong, and we have continued to deliver refurbishment and new build work for both new and existing clients.

Creating homes

A strong residential market has seen us construct, and hand over, a range of new-build homes in 2022. The styles have varied from traditional architecture through to contemporary design, with each creating a truly bespoke property for the owner.

Although every client has their own individual requirements in terms of design, an increasingly common demand is for environmentally-friendly features. At a large new build home on the Isle of Wight, we installed a range of measures to reduce energy use and running costs for the homeowner. To achieve high levels of insulation and thermal efficiency, we fitted triple glazed windows and patio doors, a ground-source heat pump, underfloor heating and 590 PV slates on the bedroom pod roofs.

Quick conversions

In 2021, new rules were introduced making it easier to convert commercial property into new homes. A simpler planning process has enabled developers to bring forward residential schemes more quickly, with many starting on site in 2022. In the south, these include the conversion of a former pub into a £4.6m development in the centre of Sutton. On track to complete in February 2023, this project will extend and remodel the three-storey building to accommodate 26 new apartments. The ground floor will be retained for commercial use and externally, a communal garden with play area will be created for new residents.

To help reduce carbon emissions, solar panels will feature on the roof and energy efficient lighting incorporated throughout the scheme.

Investing for the future

Although we are operating in an uncertain economic climate, we don’t see that as a barrier to growth. We are continuing to invest in our business to expand the team and our client portfolio.

As part of this aim, we have revamped our website, overhauled our marketing, and moved into a new office in 2022. As well as providing our team with a higher quality working environment, our new accommodation means we have more room to grow and plenty of space to catch up with clients, suppliers and partners.

We have also welcomed several new staff members this year, including most recently, Kevin Moseling, our new estimator.

Strong foundations

With 2023 on the horizon, it is once again, almost impossible to predict what lies ahead. There are undoubtably more challenges in store for the construction sector with the Construction Products Association (CPA) predicting output to fall next year, following a rise in 2022.

But this doesn’t mean that activity will grind to a halt. We see no sign of high-end residential projects slowing plus there remains a wider, and urgent, need to build new homes. At the same time, we are seeing new enquiries for commercial schemes, including design and build projects.

As a business, our family ethos means we will continue to strive to go above and beyond what is expected from us, building strong client relationships and ensuring we are in the best possible position going forwards.


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