The 10 Best Concrete Contractors in the UK

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Many concrete specialists suffered a drop in revenue in their last accounts, but the losses were largely avoided.

Today, the sector faces the twin challenges of labor shortages and decarbonization.

Combined revenues were largely flat versus last year’s index, down just 0.6%. Five companies recorded declines while the other half saw their turnover increase.

PJ Carey remained at the top of the chart, but her latest accounts cover an 18-month period, meaning she saw a big increase in revenue from her previous results.

“We are seeing demand in the energy sector, renewable products and clean energy sources”

Bjorn Bigley, Careys

Profit levels among the top 10 were however more negatively affected. Overall profit before tax fell from £69.3m to £60.2m. But the damage done during the pandemic appears to have been limited as only one company, Foundation Developments, reported a loss and the median margin of the top 10 was 3.7%, down from 4.3%. healthier than last year.

The post-Brexit blues

Byrne Bros chief executive Alastair Smyth said the decline in the number of European workers in the country since Brexit had rattled the industry.

“The industry has been busy. With the return migration to Eastern Europe, there are fewer people in that pool, so the competition has been quite tough,” he says. To deal with this, Byrne Bros is stepping up its recruiting efforts. Smyth says, “We continue to invest heavily in our own people.

“We’re taking on more apprentices than before, we’re looking at different options to integrate workforce into our own business and retain the good people we have by investing in their development.”

Careys MD Bjorn Bigley says the labor shortage is “not going away anytime soon”. The entrepreneur is working with Milton Keynes College on an apprenticeship scheme. It also remodeled its offices and a storage yard to provide learning space for trainees.

“It’s not just for Careys, it’s for the whole industry,” he says.

Active markets

Work has resumed over the past 12 months, but the most active markets have changed. Bigley says, “We are seeing demand in the energy sector, renewable products and clean energy sources. We are also seeing a rapid increase in “gigafactories”, a word that was relatively unknown
18 months ago for us.

Demand in the infrastructure and energy sector has accelerated, with the ramp-up of large-scale projects such as HS2. Smyth says the industry could be on the verge of “10 golden years in infrastructure.”

As concrete is one of the largest sources of carbon in the world, Byrne Bros and Careys are working on their carbon reduction strategies.

Anna Baker, head of sustainability at Carey, says transparency around the carbon embodied in products throughout the lifecycle has become “critical”. She adds that assessing carbon emissions throughout the supply chain is a major challenge.

But progress has been made in reducing the carbon intensity of concrete. Smyth says the concrete industry is “on the verge of a game-changer in our industry.”

He adds: “We are talking about products that will reduce embodied carbon by 60%. These are game-changing levels.

All data for this year’s index comes from company accounts filed before October 22, 2021

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