How an ageing UK population will impact future construction

How an ageing UK population will impact future construction

The demographic of the adult population has been constantly changing, an ageing population in the UK is heavily predicted for the future. With this brings the need for the construction industry to enhance the aged housing stock of the UK or even produce more, meaning there are plenty of opportunities in the future.

According to a recent study by the Office of National Statistics, the population of England is projected to increase by 5.0% over the next 10 years, from 56.0 million in mid-2018 to 58.8 million in mid-2028. By mid-2043, the population of England is projected to be 61.7 million.

Andrew Nash, the statistician for this study commented:

“Over the next decade, the population of most areas is set to continue growing, particularly in the South and Midlands. Our projections also show the share of people aged 65 years and over will increase almost everywhere. This information is particularly important for anyone planning local services – for example, opportunities and services for older people.”

Many elderly people, understandably, wish to remain in their current homes where they may have lived for 30 years rather than move to specialist housing, this is where the challenges can arise.

Specialist housing in flats or bungalows often includes features such as raised electric sockets, lowered work-tops and walk-in showers. There will also usually be an emergency alarm service linked.

Poor accessibility in existing homes is also an issue with a 2015 Commons Research Briefing stating: “The large majority of homes fail to meet Government accessibility definitions and 1 in 4 do not possess any accessibility features at all.”

The same research briefing went on to say: “Only around 5% of housing for older people is made up of specialist homes, despite evidence of a much higher demand.”

There is an opportunity then for the construction industry to lead and take control on this greater demand where the government have fallen behind. Brian Green wrote in issue 1 of Barbour ABI’s new Recreative Construction series supported by the CIOB:

“The opportunities go beyond money and profit. For those in leadership positions within construction who have for decades bemoaned the industry’s poor reputation, it is a chance to win widespread admiration from the public. If they can engage and can find answers to the hard questions ahead, if they can take actions that truly speak louder than words and genuinely build back better.”

An ageing population will bring many new challenges to the forefront which have been neglected for many years. The opportunities these present for the UK construction industry are plentiful but more than anything, construction has a chance to lead the charge on a lasting change that will impact many people’s lives for the better.

To subscribe to the Barbour ABI Recreative Construction Series supported by the CIOB click here.

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