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What is driving growth in the UK M&E contracting sector?

The UK market for Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) is growing and has been steadily for the past 5 years.  Almost a 25% uplift since 2012 to be precise.  And whilst things have slowed down slightly in recent months, the market is still extremely buoyant with further growth anticipated in 2019 – unless all of the country’s power is turned off when Brexit strikes!!

So what has driven this growth in the UK M&E contracting sector? 

Well since crawling out of recession around 2011, the construction sector as an entity has obviously seen much better times, resulting in a strong new build market with particular emphasis on the office and infrastructure sectors.  This by nature leads to an increase in work for M&E Contractors whose work inevitably brings these buildings to life. 

In addition to this organic workflow, one of the other main driving forces behind the buoyancy in M&E has been the focus on providing “installations aimed at improving energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, driven by legislative requirements and building regulations” – as identified by Fiona Watts, Editor at AMA Research.

Such is the importance of creating more energy efficient and greener products with the greater use of highly sophisticated controls – many contractors have understandably seen this growth area and have capitalised on this accordingly.

Add to this the continuing growth of the data centre market in response to increasing data traffic driving the demand for greater, secure data storage and we start to see why this market has grown significantly in the last few years.

Increased demand in the sector has also led to more competition for top talent and this has inevitably led to higher salaries and daily rates for specialist contractors which also makes appealing reading for people looking to get into the sector or currently working in the sector.  But for all of this, there still seems to be a drastic shortage of take up in the M&E sector amongst students and we are in danger of being dangerously unprepared for the future workload this growing sector is likely to provide.

It will be interesting to see how this exciting sector continues to flourish and deliver on workload in the coming years whilst also securing a succession plan for the future of building services.