It’s no secret that the construction sector plays a crucial role in shaping the dynamics of the skip hire and waste management industry in the UK. As the pace and direction of construction activities change, so do the demands and trends within our industry. Reflecting on the first half of 2023, a number of significant trends have emerged, impacting both the construction and waste management sectors.
A key trend we’ve seen this year is increased stability in the construction supply chain. After a period of significant disruption, thanks to the twin challenges of Brexit and the war in Ukraine, there are signs that the availability and cost of building supplies are beginning to stabilise. However, this stability is occurring at higher costs than previously experienced. This has implications for the skip hire industry, where the increased cost of materials can indirectly affect the cost of skip production and repair, potentially leading to increased hire prices.
One of the most interesting shifts in construction has been the rise in refurbishments and office reimagination. With a large number of offices built in the late 80s and early 90s now requiring updates, there has been a surge in repair and maintenance works – this has been amplified as a result of the lockdowns during COVID and the more recent return to the workplace. This trend has led to an increased demand for smaller skip sizes, which are more suited to these types of projects.
Conversely, the construction of new houses and industrial projects is expected to slow down in relation to the increase in interest rates and overall inflation which the UK is currently experiencing. This might lead to a reduced demand for larger skip sizes, typically required in these projects. However, with the ebb and flow nature of the housing market, this is likely a temporary shift.
A trend that has gained significant momentum is the increasing importance of technology in construction. With the rise of construction technology, we’re seeing a parallel trend in the waste management sector with the adoption of digital solutions for skip hire. From online booking systems to digital tracking of waste, technology is transforming the way we operate and creating efficiencies in ways which were previously, not possible.
One factor which tends to cause a very quick knock-on effect is the price of fuel. During 2022, we saw the highest diesel hikes on record and this had an immediate impact on the price of skip hire as it coincided with a ban on using red diesel in plant machinery. An already huge factor was amplified when pump prices hit new levels. Unfortunately EVs are not at the stage of development yet where it would be feasible or even practical to use to haul heavy waste such as that found in skips, but hopefully, as the technology improves, they may become a suitable alternative to using fuel.
Lastly, diversification is being recommended to reduce risk in the construction sector. This is equally applicable to the skip hire industry. Offering a diverse range of services, from different skip sizes to a variety of waste management solutions, can help skip hire companies navigate unpredictable market fluctuations. Skip hire companies who have full waste processing facilities will be able to process waste into reusable materials such as aggregates.
Overall, the changing trends in the construction industry present both opportunities and challenges for the skip hire industry. By staying attuned to these changes and adapting our services accordingly, we can continue to provide the efficient, reliable waste management solutions that the construction sector relies on.