A snapshot of the state of the construction sector and how to tap into funds for new building projects were just two of the key topics at a recent Shropshire Constructing Excellence event.

SCE chairman Paul Moran

The Construction Finance breakfast, supported by FBC Manby Bowdler, heard from a series of industry specialists at the October 26 event.

Guest presenter Peter Lowe, a Director of Barclays Real Estate, shared details about the Housing Delivery Fund, a new venture set up by Barclays and Homes England, to boost the home building sector.

The £1b fund, aimed at SME builders, will lend up to 80 per cent of the project cost as opposed to current 60 per cent to allow house builders to develop more sites as the demand for homes continues to show no sign of slowing down.

He also spoke about the Homes England Infrastructure Fund that can help with stalled sites.

Chris Hedley, the Head of Building Consultancy at surveyors Towler Shaw Roberts, gave an appraisal of the current market, which included positive news for industrial sites with demand increasing. But while the call for offices remained stable, the market for retail units was declining.

With the industrial sector targeting the greatest area of growth, it was still uncertain what the impact of Brexit would have on the commercial construction sector, he said, with international companies still deciding whether to renew their leases.

The biggest growth area was in the number of redevelopment and refurbishment schemes, so a future focus would be on adapting and reusing buildings rather than selling them, he added.

The gathering also heard from Phil Edwards, a Development and Delivery specialist at Telford & Wrekin Council, who told the audience: “There’s never been a time when there is so much funding available for housing development.”

Existing funds available for construction projects include the Marches Building Investment Grant, Brownfield Land and Property Development, Home Building Fund, and the Barclays Fund.

SCE chairman Paul Moran, who is Business Development Director at construction firm Pave Aways, said: “Events like these aim to inform those working in the sector about the opportunities, the challenges, the funding and other issues that are facing the industry.

“By sharing knowledge and experiences, it enables members to have all the information at their fingertips when it comes to developing and delivering their own cost effective, successful and profitable schemes.”

 

* SCE events are free to attend for members and £20 for non-members. If you’d like to join Shropshire Constructing Excellence, you can find out more here or email: teresa@shropshireconstruction.co.uk