Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

Business

Construction output falls

Published

on

RISING costs and uncertainty relating to Brexit are to blame for the sharp drop in output growth in January 2019, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said in response to the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index data (PMI).

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Construction Purchasing Manager’s Index incorporates survey results provided by construction firms throughout the country.

A reading above fifty suggests the construction sector is expanding, while a reading below fifty suggests the construction sector is in contraction.

The January 2019 PMI data revealed a fall from 52.8 in December to 50.6 in January, against the neutral reading of 50.0. January data pointed to a loss of momentum for the UK construction sector, with business activity growth grinding to its weakest for ten months.

All three categories of construction output recorded weaker trends than those reported in December.

Residential work was the strongest performing area, although the latest expansion was only modest and the slowest seen since March 2018. Civil engineering activity increased marginally, with the rate of growth much softer than December’s 19-month high.

Commercial work was the weakest performing area of construction output in January. Latest data indicated a decline in work on commercial construction projects for the first time in ten months. Anecdotal evidence suggested that Brexit-related anxiety and associated concerns about the domestic economic outlook continued to weigh on client demand.

New business growth eased to an eight-month low in January.

Construction firms widely commented on softer demand conditions and longer sales conversion times, reflecting a wait-and-see approach to spending by clients. Concerns about the near-term outlook for new projects resulted in more cautious staff hiring policies at the start of 2019. The latest survey pointed to the slowest rise in employment numbers since July 2016.

However, construction firms remain positive about the outlook for business activity in 2019. Around 41% of the survey panel anticipate a rise in output, while only 16% forecast a fall.

Optimism had, however, fallen month on month. Large-scale civil engineering projects were cited as a key source of optimism, while Brexit uncertainty was the most commonly cited concern.

Tim Moore, Economics Associate Director at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey: “UK construction growth shifted down a gear at the start of 2019, with weaker conditions signalled across all three main categories of activity.

“Commercial work declined for the first time in ten months as concerns about the domestic economic outlook continued to hold back activity.

“The latest survey also revealed a loss of momentum for house building and civil engineering, although these areas of the construction sector at least remained on a modest growth path.”

Duncan Brock, Group Director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply said: “The sector suffered a sharp drop in output growth in January, and the softest rise in purchasing volumes since September 2017, as Brexit continues to hamper progress and dampen client confidence.

“The biggest shock came in the form of job creation which has managed to suffer the slings and arrows of Brexit highs and lows with solid hiring since the referendum result. Employment rose at the slowest rate since July 2016 and with optimism also in short supply, the sector only needs a small nudge to tip it closer to a recession.”

Commenting on the results, Brian Berry Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The latest PMI data show a slowdown in growth in construction with business activity growth easing to its weakest for ten months. The ongoing political uncertainty is partly to blame for this setback.

“Political uncertainty is the enemy of construction firms that rely on the spending power of homeowners to commission home improvement projects. The UK is set to leave the EU next month, and yet we are still none the wiser about what the future holds. Given these intense headwinds, it should not be surprising that the sector suffered such a sharp decline.”

Mr Berry continued: “Alongside the political uncertainty, the cost of doing business is also rising for construction firms up and down the country. Material prices have been rising steadily since the depreciation of sterling following the EU referendum.

“Looking ahead, material prices are expected to continue to cause a headache for the construction industry with recent research from the FMB showing that 87% of builders believe that material prices will rise in the next six months. What’s more the construction skills crisis means that key trades are extremely difficult to recruit and the upshot of this is rising wages in construction.

“Tradespeople know they can command higher salaries than they did previously as workers are scarce, and this means a squeeze in margins for firms. This will only worsen if the post-Brexit immigration system that the Government has planned goes ahead.

“If the sector isn’t able to draw upon crucial EU workers of all skill levels, who have so far served to mitigate this shortage, the slowdown of growth will continue.”

Continue Reading

Business

Demolition underway at Haverfordwest’s Western Quayside

Published

on

DEMOLITION WORK is underway at Western Quayside in Haverfordwest (the former Ocky White building) as part of a major construction project to redevelop the site.

Commenced earlier this year, the project will provide a modern and stylish three-storey development, including a food emporium, bar and roof-top terrace.

The Pembrokeshire County Council scheme incorporates public realm improvements including an attractive waterfront square with space for events which could extend its use into the early evening.

The demolition is due to be finished by mid-December, when works will move on to the installation of the substructure foundations and then onto the steel work installation in the New Year. The project is anticipated to be complete in early 2023.

The scheme is funded by the Welsh Government Transforming Towns programme and the Building for the Future programme through the European Regional Development Fund. The contractors are John Weavers Ltd.  

Rachel Moxey, Head of Economic Development and Regeneration, said the development, combined with its potential for leisure and community use, aimed to encourage greater vitality and resilience within the town centre over time.

“The project is evidence of the Authority’s commitment to support the regeneration of Pembrokeshire’s county town,” she said. “Not only will it help drive footfall to Haverfordwest, it will also support business growth and create an additional community hub.”

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said: “Our Transforming Towns programme is providing £136 million to further support the economic and social recovery of town and city centres across Wales, building on existing investment of £800 million in over 50 of our towns since 2014.

“Transforming Towns is focussed on improving biodiversity and green infrastructure, repurposing neglected properties, increasing flexible working and living space, and providing access to services.

“Our town centre first policy means that town centres should be the first consideration for all decisions on the location of workplaces and services. Our town and city centres face many challenges which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“That’s why we are investing heavily to ensure that our towns not only survive but thrive, and we are brave in reinvigorating them into places where people want to spend their time.”

Local County Councillor Tom Tudor welcomed the progress on site: “Combined with other initiatives taking place, I am very optimistic that Haverfordwest Town Centre will become a thriving commercial and residential location of choice, creating a distinct destination and sense of place,” he said.

Continue Reading

Business

Businesses given opportunity to ‘meet the buyer’ for Greenlink interconnector

Published

on

A ‘Meet-the-Buyer’ day for potential suppliers will be held in Pembroke Dock on Wednesday 3 November for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which is scheduled to start construction in early 2022.  Greenlink will link the GB and Irish electricity transmission systems via 190km of underground and subsea cables between Pembrokeshire and Wexford, Ireland, and is one of Europe’s most significant energy infrastructure projects. 

The Meet-the-Buyer event will be an opportunity for businesses in the area to hear the latest news about the project, including the construction programme, to meet representatives from the appointed EPC contractors Siemens Energy and Sumitomo Electric, to discuss what their business can offer and to find out how to bid for contracts. 

James O’Reilly, CEO of Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said; 

“Greenlink will provide benefits to both Ireland and Wales in terms of employment, security of supply and the integration of low carbon energy sources. Greenlink, Siemens Energy and Sumitomo Electric are committed to offering local supply chain opportunities wherever possible and we encourage businesses who feel they can offer goods or services to come along and meet the team to find out more.” 

Chris Turner, Senior Project Manager at Siemens Energy said; 

“During the construction phase, there will be a requirement for a range of goods and services, from office cleaning, site security and local accommodation, to fencing, scaffolding and minor civils works.  We would encourage local businesses to check the full list of what we might be looking for and we look forward to discussing opportunities with them at the event.” 

Advance registration for the event is essential.  Meetings can be booked by visiting: https://wales.business-events.org.uk/en/events/greenlink-interconnector-meet-the-buyer-event/ 

Continue Reading

Business

KFC Pembroke Dock will open doors officially next month following trial

Published

on

KFC in Pembroke Dock will open its doors to the public next month, following a trial run for friends and family of employees.

The store has also been opening for time-to-time without the drive-thru to the public, and queues have been long.

There has been some confusion with the public thinking that the outlet is already open properly, but friend chicken fans will have to wait a little longer for the entire service until the new store officially opens.

On their Facebook page the company said: “There’s been a lot of speculation, we did a test lunch on October 20 for friends and family.

“If all goes well we will be open very soon.”

A spokesperson for KFC Pembroke Dock later told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We’re looking for a grand opening on November 3, but that date could still change.”

KFC Pembroke Dock posted on Facebook on Monday saying: “Good evening to you all.

“As you may have noticed we have been temporarily opening our doors to help our staff training and test our equipment.

“This has not been an official open as nothing has been announced from us. “We still do not have an official full opening date as we are still managing some technical problems.

“We apologise for the queue times and wait times and assure you we are doing everything we can to get your food to you as soon as possible.

“I understand it can be frustrating. Our staff team are all working their hardest to deliver you gold standard products, and we will not tolerate any abusive behaviour towards any member of staff.

“Our delivery will be online soon after we officially open, along with drive thru.

“Thank you to everyone who has visited us already and we look forward to seeing you soon.”

Local Dai Morgan said: “I had food from you the other night and must say it was bloody lovely only a 20-minute wait for it which considering how busy it was that was OK can’t wait for the drive through to be open!”

Lynda Worrell said: “I went there this evening (Monday) and waited 50 minutes got home all my food was wrong, they shouldn’t open to the public if not ready or at lol least tell us that there still on a trial run.

Mike Axford-Miles replied by saying: “Calm down… they just opened the doors, new staff, new starts, I waited 30 minutes for fast food, I understand that they had been open for 1 day, so didn’t complain. Did you actually see how busy they were. They didn’t stop. And let’s face it, KFC coming to Pembrokeshire is like the second coming of Jesus Christ.”

New Pembroke Dock store as it neared competition earlier this month (Pic KFC Facebook)

DID YOU KNOW ?

KFC was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, an entrepreneur who began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression.

KFC: One of the first American fast-food chains to expand internationally, opening outlets in Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico by the mid-1960s.

Sanders identified the potential of the restaurant franchising concept and the first “Kentucky Fried Chicken” franchise opened in Utah in 1952.

KFC popularized chicken in the fast-food industry, diversifying the market by challenging the established dominance of the hamburger.

By branding himself as “Colonel Sanders”, Harland became a prominent figure of American cultural history and his image remains widely used in KFC advertising to this day.

However, the company’s rapid expansion overwhelmed the aging Sanders and he sold it to a group of investors led by John Y. Brown Jr. and Jack C. Massey in 1964.

KFC was one of the first American fast-food chains to expand internationally, opening outlets in Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Jamaica by the mid-1960s. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it experienced mixed fortunes domestically, as it went through a series of changes in corporate ownership with little or no experience in the restaurant business.

In the early 1970s, KFC was sold to the spirits distributor Heublein, which was taken over by the R. J. Reynolds food and tobacco conglomerate; that company sold the chain to PepsiCo.

The chain continued to expand overseas, however, and in 1987 it became the first Western restaurant chain to open in China.

It has since expanded rapidly in China, which is now the company’s single largest market. PepsiCo spun off its restaurants division as Tricon Global Restaurants, which later changed its name to Yum! Brands.

KFC’s original product is pressure fried chicken pieces, seasoned with Sanders’ recipe of 11 herbs and spices.

The constituents of the recipe are a trade secret. Larger portions of fried chicken are served in a cardboard “bucket”, which has become a feature of the chain since it was first introduced by franchisee Pete Harman in 1957.

Since the early 1990s, KFC has expanded its menu to offer other chicken products such as chicken fillet sandwiches and wraps, as well as salads and side dishes such as French fries and coleslaw, desserts and soft drinks; the latter often supplied by PepsiCo.

KFC is known for its slogans “It’s Finger Lickin’ Good!”, “Nobody does chicken like KFC” and “So good”.

Continue Reading

Community11 hours ago

Bright new community space opens in centre of Haverfordwest

AN EXCITING new community space has opened in the Riverside Shopping Centre in Haverfordwest. Based in the former Wimpy building,...

News3 days ago

Protect yourself and others from Covid-19 this festive season

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is reminding people to think of the continuing risks from Covid variant when attending Christmas...

News3 days ago

Parents warned of pitfalls of buying e-scooters this Christmas

Thinking of buying an e-scooter as a gift this Christmas? You may want to rethink that idea the local police...

News4 days ago

New funding for Pembroke regeneration scheme welcomed

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has said it is proud to announce the success of its bid to the UK Government Levelling...

News5 days ago

Extreme pornographic images case to be dealt with at Swansea Crown Court

A MILFORD HAVEN man who denies three charges of making indecent images of children and of possessing an extreme pornographic image...

News6 days ago

Secondary school staff and pupils must wear face coverings from December 1

FOLLOWING the written statement from the Minister for Education yesterday (Monday) evening, all secondary school learners and staff will be...

News7 days ago

‘Unpleasant’ trader must pay over £19,000 for shoddy shed work

A MAN who carried out substandard work on a shed in north Pembrokeshire and became unpleasant when challenged has been...

News7 days ago

Covid-19 cases highest in Tenby; lots of new cases in Neyland and Pembroke Dock

THE NUMBER of Covid-19 infections still taking place in Pembrokeshire is still significant, with the latest figues broken down per...

News1 week ago

Vaccine-sceptic care workers urged to get jabbed to save lives

A SOCIAL CARE leader has urged the minority of vaccine-sceptic care workers in the Hywel Dda Health Authority area  to...

News1 week ago

Woman with broken leg airlifted off Preselis by Coastguard helicopter

A WOMAN who broke her leg whilst out walking on the Preselis was taken to hospital by helicopter after a...

Popular This Week