Tips for construction leaders

BDO Construction Sector Report 2024

Tips for construction leaders

You can’t control the economy, but you can control how you prepare for - and react to - changing market conditions. We’ve put together practical tips based on our observations from working with construction business leaders to help you navigate the challenges and opportunities in the market currently. 

Watch the video below where BDO Construction Sector Leader Nick Innes-Jones shares his tips for construction leaders based on the challenges from the report.

Cash flow and margins

  • Cash flow is king. Reduce unnecessary expenditure (both operational and capital expenditure) to have the ability to pay bills on time.  
  • Monitor your sales pipelinemargins and forward cash flow carefully. If your forward work reduces, consider the adjustments you can make to ensure there’s no strain on cash flow. 
  • Stress-test your monthly forecasts against any unforeseen events – and any potential reduction in work and delays. 
  • Don’t take a job at a low margin for the sake of winning a job. This will impact your cash flow and could take your focus away from other jobs that may be more profitable. 


  • As market competition increases and leads to a reduction in forward work, it’s vital to examine your business and understand your unique selling points. Consider different ways to stand out from your competitors to win tenders. 
  • Reputation is everything. Make sure you keep your standards and quality high, even in tough conditions, to help win work over competitors.  


  • The labour market remains tight, and it’s essential to hold on to your good employees. Engage with them on their wants and needs and make them proud to be working for your company. 
  • If required, be prepared to downsize your business to remain competitive. Identify key costs you can cut. 
  • To retain good employees, take the time to upskill your staff to boost their motivation and plug future talent gaps. 

Paperwork and planning

  • Stay on top of your compliance. It’s a necessary evil that can cost you time and money if you don’t get on top of it. 
  • Do your due diligence. If you’re a principal/client, do your due diligence on a head contractor. If you’re a head contractor, do your due diligence on subcontractors 
  • Have a plan, supported by numbers, showing you different scenarios and what the way forward looks like. Then ensure you know what levers in your business you can pull to navigate different situations. 
  • Use any downtime to your advantage, especially when it comes to futureproofing against the threats of AI and climate change. Consider how AI could be an opportunity for your business, especially when it comes to maximising efficiencies. 

Finally, communication is essential when there is a slowdownKeep your business stakeholders (shareholders, bankers, creditors, Inland Revenueabreast of where youre at and if cashflow is tight, communicate with suppliers and other creditors early. It’s important to take professional advice, especially if the going gets tough. This includes lawyers, bankers, industry bodies and your accountants.  

More information and support

Read our BDO Business Wellbeing Index (April 2024 report) for more construction sector insights.   

For more help and to discuss report insights, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your BDO advisor or our Construction team.