Scale: going global
As one respondent comments: "Geographic expansion will increase, mainly in emerging countries as domestic and regional markets are perceived as mature". Scale is necessary to compete globally and to tackle large energy and other major infrastructure projects, which in turn creates the diversity to cope with regional volatility. Further consolidation is expected, with an opening up of the M&A market. According to another survey participant, construction companies will become: "diversified and global, with more vertical integration. There will be no middle class to speak of. Small local companies will survive, but nearly all mid-sized companies will be slowly acquired by the global leaders".
Range and depth of services: "design, build, finance and operate"
In the words of one industry executive, "Companies will offer a wider range of services including front-end consultancy/engineering, construction and maintenance or facilities management". as part of a "total procurement" solution. Another comments that: "Large construction companies will have the capability to look after asset over the full life cycle. They will have a broader range of service and specialism". This is likely to lead to a rise in direct labor, with an associated need for training and management development to build a highly mobile, global workforce, making the sector more attractive to graduates and new entrants to the workforce.
Stakeholder management: towards closer relationships
A survey participant urges the industry to work more closely with the public sector on infrastructure and PPPs, emphasizing that: "A company needs to be more government- oriented". Referring to the same issue, another executive feels that PPP’s require companies to be “… more flexible and innovative, exploring alternative areas of procurement. Engineering and construction companies will also have to put equity into projects.” When discussing relationships on a broader basis, one respondent saw room for improvement: "Firms need to work better with the contractors and become more of a business partner".
Sustainability: an evolving issue
The importance of a sustainable approach to the entire construction cycle is succinctly summed up by this respondent: "Sustainability starts and ends with the construction industry. The materials used, the waste produced and the final built environment - and therefore the sector – must become leaders in sustainability". However, regulatory change will also be a big driver of behaviour, according to an industry executive, who argues for engineering and construction companies to play an: "active role, since clients - mainly in Northern Europe – increasingly demand audited data on sustainability issues/ratios; therefore companies should actively shape the discussion". A number of those involved in the survey point to the increasing range of opportunities arising from sustainability, including the development of infrastructure for renewable energies and green buildings. However, one industry leader noted the need to be pragmatic and feels that: "The business looks to work in a sustainable way, but it's customers that will drive the agenda – and currently they look at price not sustainability".