Construction industry on the up, says awards backer

Sponsor: Paul Rowley of Rowland Homes
Sponsor: Paul Rowley of Rowland Homes
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Lancashire’s construction industry is on an upward curve, according to the boss of one of its biggest success stories.

Paul Rowley, founder of house-builder Rowland Homes, said he feels the industry is moving forward six years on from the start of the last recession and believes it is set to continue on a steady upward surge.

The Leyland firm was recently named as one of the fastest-growing the country and has recently taken on extra staff.

It is a trend mirrored across the industry with the latest Purchasing Managers Index survey showing construction firms hiring at the fastest rate since the study began in 1997, led by house-building firms.

Mr Rowley said: “The demand for new homes is still strong and with low interest rates, house-builders are still looking for further development which can only bode well for the future.

“What we need is strong but sustainable growth; this industry is often volatile in the peaks and troughs it swings between but we seem to be on a steady course at the moment. In Lancashire, we still see a lot of opportunities and I think a strong house-building industry in the county can only be good for construction as a whole and the wider economy.”

The businessman’s firm is sponsoring the Construction Business of the Year award at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, which stages its prize-giving ceremony at the Blackpool Tower in less than a month’s time.

The event is a sell-out with more than 1,100 people expected to attend to see 19 prizes handed out to the leading lights of Lancashire’s business community,

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce which organises the awards, said it had organised a programme befitting of the quality of businesses on show.

She said: “From the moment our guests sit down in the iconic Tower Ballroom, they will be treated to a feast of music and entertainment.

“We always like to keep our headline acts under our hat, but I can promise people this will be another BIBAs night to remember.”

In 2014, the BIBAs attracted a record number of entries for its 17 main prize categories with more than 1,200 applications from businesses across Lancashire which were whittled down to a shortlist of 134 entries.

In 2013, John Lancaster, the founder of Ribble Valley-based conservatory manufacturer, Ultraframe, collected the lifetime achievement award, Lancastrian of the Year, with other winners including Burnley-based textiles firm, Panaz Fabrics.