Global Britain – the built environment as a growth export

With the global construction market set to grow by $4.5tn between 2020 and 2030, and many nations looking for the right expertise to deliver, there is a huge opportunity for firms across the UK to come together with Government to boost our exports, create jobs and transform infrastructure and the built environment around the world.

British construction, consultancy and wider professional services have played a critical role in some of the largest, most successful and transformational major projects and programmes in the UK and globally. And despite only representing 0.4% of UK exports, construction services have seen a 53% increase in value in the last three years – amounting to just over £4.6bn – and representing a positive trend for UK Plc.

Over the next decade the demand for major construction programme delivery will continue to grow as a result of rapid urbanisation in emerging economies and the need to transition to more sustainable infrastructure to meet ambitious net-zero commitments in advanced economies. An estimated $3.7tn per year will be spent on major global infrastructure programmes up to 2030. These major programmes are getting larger in size, scale and complexity. The need for collaborative, innovative, sustainable models will continue to grow, as soaring inflation means that the cost of delays will become much higher.

Post-covid, there has been a greater emphasis on infrastructure projects not just delivering physical buildings, but other long-term legacy outcomes. British companies have also been at the forefront of developing innovative tools and approaches to better deliver projects and programmes and escape the so-called ‘iron law of megaprojects’ that 70-80% come in late or over budget.

But while the UK’s construction service industry has grown considerably, more will need to be done to see the same growth across the contracting and products industry to ensure the UK is primed to take this opportunity. Failing to capitalise could cost the UK an estimated £2.35bn in export revenue - which is too significant to ignore.

Our latest Insight report, 'Global Britain - the built environment as a growth export' explores this huge scope of opportunity further, highlighting a number of recommendations for both the UK Government and our industry to unlock future trading, and presents ‘the Construction Partner Index’ – an authoritative ranking of potential global trading partners. 

Read the report in full here.