Growth within the interior fit-out and refurbishment market has stalled over the last couple of years, with a downturn in activity widely expected for 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In recent years, the uncertain political and economic environment has had a detrimental effect upon business confidence and investment, thereby resulting in a downturn in demand for fit-out and refurbishment services in sectors such as commercial offices and leisure and recreation. However, activity has picked up in some public sector areas, with the repurposing of many buildings in the central Government estate one notable example.
With a share worth 24% within the last year, the commercial offices sector is the largest in terms of end user application. Although shortages of Grade A office space persist in many of the UK’s largest cities, the commercial offices sector has been hit by a slowdown in new orders from the large central London market. The retail sector appears set to experience a further decline in activity, for reasons such as the growth of online shopping and the decline of the high street. The picture appears to be more promising in sectors such as education and healthcare, where future investment seems likely to take place. Many buildings are being repurposed to cope with changing demographics and technological advances, while environmental performance is likely to remain a key driver of refurbishment work.