Is Social Infrastructure ‘Trend’ key to Industry Survival?

  • Keltbray new acquisition is ‘in line with infrastructure strategy’
  • ‘Big appetite’ for UK infrastructure investment, says BAM
  • Laing O’Rourke has ‘key role to play’ in social infrastructure
  • Skanska boss offers market view amid ‘economic uncertainty’
highways at night
by Rory ButlerNovember 10, 2022

The industry continues to weather a tumultuous period in the economy, exacerbated, in part, by Brexit, a pandemic, war, and more recently a disorganised government, collectively impacting market confidence.

But can firms begin to navigate a path through the uncertainty by watching how a few key industry players appear to be talking about social infrastructure projects?

The UK Government confirmed in September significant investment over the next 10 years, outlined in its UK National Infrastructure Strategy.


Keltbray just acquired rival engineering firm IDEC Group Limited. IDEC has a nearly 140-strong workforce, and many of its existing clients are also Keltbray’s.

Keltbray said the deal was in line with a key part of its strategy to develop its infrastructure services offering. “The acquisition of IDEC is a further demonstration of the strategic focus of the Keltbray Group to develop its services in critical infrastructure markets,” said Keltbray CEO, Darren James.

Laing O’Rourke

Laing O’Rourke Group Chairman, Sir John Parker recently said in a financial report that his firm has a “key role to play in delivering new social infrastructure”, when commenting on its net-zero commitment. Sir John added: “I stand by my assessment that the sector probably has the best opportunities ahead of it, that it has seen in the last 50 years, as long as major public works programmes continue to be prioritised for the benefit of our communities.”

Royal BAM Group

BAM CFO, Frans den Houter recently told Construction Europe the UK industry was witnessing a “big appetite” for long-term infrastructure investment, having published BAM’s third quarter report.

BAM also said its operational performance in the third quarter had been “held back by inflation and supply chain constraints”, with CEO Ruud Joosten also pointing to “high competition” around recruitment and retention.


CEO Anders Danielsson has worked at Skanska since 1991 and has an impressive background, including in Infrastructure Development. He recently acknowledged the degree to which current economic uncertainties are impacting the firm’s performance, adding activity in the residential sector had slowed, but that commercial property development was relatively steady.

Times are indeed tough. But can firms learn from and adapt these attitudes to their own business strategies? And will the Autumn Statement on 17 November offer any relief or clarity for business? As BAM CFO Frans den Houter recently urged: “Let’s wait and see what the new government will do.”

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