Almost 16 months on from the first Covid-19 lockdown being called in the UK, for some businesses that have been affected the long-term consequences remain uncertain. For UK SMEs, the ability to pivot and adapt to whatever challenges the health crisis may thrust upon them has been critical for their survival.
For Affordable Housing Solutions - an independent housing expert in Hammersmith, west London, which works in collaboration with property developers - this is no different.
Given the lengthy lead-in time on a lot of the firm’s projects, it was challenging for the senior leadership team to initially project what the long-term effects of the pandemic were likely to be. Rather fortunately from a commercial perspective, 2020 transpired to be one of the business’ best performing years to date, though uncertainty remains over the future.
Speaking to The Parliamentary Review, director Peter Hibbert explained: “The impact of Covid-19 on our business will be difficult to determine immediately, due to the long lead-in time on our projects. In fact, 2020 was one of our best years to date as a business and we have managed to operate as closely to normal as possible. Going forward, we will remain wary of the pandemic’s long-term impact, but at this stage we appear to have been rather fortunate.”
An issue that was of concern for Hibbert was the full enactment of Brexit - with the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union coming into full effect from the beginning of the year - combined with the ongoing financial effects of the pandemic and rising unemployment.
“With the uncertainties surrounding Brexit and the ongoing financial impact of Covid-19, the impact of rising unemployment on the economics of house building could be damaging for our business and the property sector as a whole”, Hibbert warned.
Indeed, issues arising from supply chains shutting down back in 2020 are already causing problems within the construction industry. Demand for building materials is exceeding supply and having a knock-on effect on property prices.
However, despite the changing economic landscape, Hibbert remains confident in the Affordable Housing Solutions business model, paying tribute to the company's ability to pivot, which has been demonstrated throughout the health crisis to date.
“Our business model remains strong and as a small, nimble organisation, I remain confident in our ability to adapt and change direction. We are already moving forward with a number of new ventures, and I am confident that we will be able to pivot as necessary.”