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Welcome Initiatives Threatened by Potential Skills Shortage Warns Aarsleff Ground Engineering

Aarsleff Ground Engineering, one of the UK’s leading contractors of driven precast piles and ground engineering solutions, has cautiously welcomed the Government’s Autumn Statement, in particular its commitment to housing and infrastructure, but warns that skills shortages could impede plans in the medium-term.

Specifically, Chris Primett Managing Director at Aarsleff said:

“The housing sector is important to Aarsleff and whilst the £2.3billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, for a range of projects including roads and water connections, will support the construction of up to 100,000 new homes and will obviously benefit us, the real concern is whether there are enough skills around to achieve such aims quickly enough to deliver any sort of real-term impact or economic return.

Of course there are also issues with planning, it being neither flexible nor efficient and therefore has the potential to limit the speed at which housing projects and associated infrastructure gain approval. Money is all well and good but a more joined up approach is required if the Chancellor is going to be able to deliver on his plans.”

Chris added:

“The predicted fall in GDP to 1.4% during 2017, recovering to 1.7% in 2018 will clearly affect the volume of work available in our industry and has therefore the potential to impact all piling companies. However, Aarsleff is not seeing any change in demand so far across any of the sectors it works including Housing; Commercial; Industrial; Energy and Infrastructure sectors. Looking ahead, the Autumn Statement’s pledge to invest in both housing and infrastructure should be viewed as positive for the geotechnical sector.

“Although, the government’s Office of Budget Responsibility expectation is that there will be lower business investment in the short term, Aarsleff remains committed to its own investment programme. In fact we are purchasing new rigs to meet demand (and upgrade old stock) and diversify into new markets such as Sheet Piling and Geotechnical Engineering. Obviously we will be monitoring the economic and business situation closely, but I believe confidence in the sector demands a positive outlook and we should ONLY react to what we know and not uncertainty.”

For more information about Aarsleff Ground Engineering and its Sheet Piling solutions, contact Aarsleff on 01636 611140 or email info@aarsleff.co.uk

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