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Basements: UK firms should take advantage of overseas market

UK consultants in the deep basements and underground structures markets should take advantage of the weak pound and focus their businesses overseas, experts have claimed

UK consultants in basement engineering should be “well placed” overseas, according to Arup director Duncan Nicholson.

Speaking at the Basements and Underground Structures conference in London on Thursday, Nicholson highlighted the opportunities and challenges the basement industry may face over the next five years.

Because of the effects of the recession and the falling value of the pound, he said consultants are better off focusing their business on overseas projects, particularly “cash rich” countries in the Middle East.

The UK industry is set to pick up again within five years, but certain sectors will recover faster than others. Basement installations in home properties have seen a drop in a demand for since 2009 as the recession hit.

However, the areas seeing signs of recovery are the city retail and commercial sector as developers seek ways of using existing space. Metropolitan basement construction is also improving, said Nicholson, with Crossrail underway and London Underground spending on improvements.

There is little development expected in the renewables sector in the foreseen future, although with a possible move to nuclear power, underground storage for nuclear waste may soon be imminent.

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