Home » Insights » Construction: our 2024 outlook

Construction: our 2024 outlook

Right across the world of business, serious adjustments took place in 2023 as we continued to rebound from COVID and grapple with the many different influences on our economy, from labour shortages and inflation to high interest rates and the ‘cost of living’ crisis.

The construction sector is perhaps one of the most susceptible to economic and political instability, and yet at Refresh we can only report success where our clients are concerned this year, and we go into 2024 full of hope and promise for both us and them.

The construction market in 2024

But what are the issues that we have our eyes on? Just two key areas are below:

Changing face of city centres

We’re a two-office company now, meaning we’ve one eye on London while I, personally, still travel into Manchester each day with one eye on the cranes scattered across the city centre skyline. The 2023 Crane index for Manchester reports that almost 12,000 new homes are in the pipeline here, 17 new residential developments are under construction, 1500+ hotel beds have been delivered (2023), five new office schemes are being constructed – and 28% of office floorspace under construction is pre-let! Deloitte itself even calls the Manchester market ‘electric’.

Likewise, the London index shows similar optimism; the survey has seen the highest volume of new starts on record! £5m sq ft of new construction started across 43 schemes. Interestingly the survey says that demand for premium office space is still largely fuelling the increasing construction levels.

It’s not just building that’s changing our city centres though. The current drive to make our city centres more pleasant experiences for visitors and dwellers alike means in Manchester we’ll be watching out for more on Manchester’s Clean Air Zone either before, or after, an election depending on what the polls say.

With the changing face of the high street, as retailers move out and the housing, warehousing, logistics and hospitality spaces increase in our towns and cities, it’s likely that refurb projects will increase in 2024.

While this trend has been around for a few years, one which hasn’t is watching on as businesses try new tactics to get workers back into the office, battling changing working patterns that are now embedded from the past 30+ months. The good news for the sector is that this means office refurbs could be on the up in 2024. I’ve been considering attending WorkTech Manchester, in late June, which explores the future of work and the workplace – could be an interesting conference.

Sustainability in the Spotlight again

Demand for greener buildings and spaces has never been higher. Balancing this against cost has also never been harder. Buildings account for 30% of global energy consumption and over a quarter of global energy-related emissions.

However, developers and retrofitters alike know this is a none negotiable. The drive to net zero is at the core of operations. It makes changes like Part L of the building regs, which came into play earlier in 2023, mean even more to some of our clients; after all conserving fuel and power is a critical focus for net zero.

For years now, PR and comms teams have had to make sure companies can walk the walk, as well as talk the talk. Now it’s not enough to tell people what a company is doing in relation to the Future Homes Standard or on its biodiversity net gain checklist; companies must live and breathe sustainability across all areas of the business to be taken seriously. In 2024 this requirement will gain even more traction. As a supplier to the construction sector, we’ve been examining and working on our Scope 3 documents to make sure we’re in the best shape to be able to support our clients in the near future.

Coming off the back of COP28, where almost all countries agreed to transition away from fossil fuels, 2024 is starting off on a strong footing which will line up more advances in terms of sustainability and when the Future Homes Standard kicks in (2025), it’ll be all systems go. It’ll be a busy year for comms teams.

Construction Marketing in 2024

Closer to home, we like to look at what our clients are going to be focusing on in 2024. Here are our top three construction marketing take-aways and our advice to construction marketing managers.

Taking control of your message

Across B2B, we’re still seeing a rise in enquiries from clients just looking for something different – a way to communicate to their audiences which moves away from traditional ‘PR’.  It’s one of the main reasons why clients pick up the phone to talk to Refresh. Just one comms strategy that we’re seeing great success with is the leaps and bounds made to progress the field of content marketing.

This is music to us in the agency world. We like campaigns that maximise the PESO model (a mix of paid, earned, social media and owned activity) as not only do they have tremendous, trackable results, but as news desks reduce staff levels again, while the pressure for clicks is ever more the focus, control of messaging becomes tougher. Being able to create and control your story via your own channels is where we are seeing not only happy clients and strong ROI, but the award wins coming in too!

That said, storytelling is critical with content marketing. Where are you starting from and where do you want to be by the end of the campaign. How can your story take you there? We are examining this daily and in 2024 standing out via storytelling will be central to success.

The ongoing B2C ‘improve, don’t move’ trend

On the consumer side of ‘construction’ which we commonly call interiors or home interest, we’re seeing a rise in clients coming to us to target the wealthier who still have access to that disposable income. Reaching the Baby Boomer generation is fun, and with their increased free time comes increased usage of social media. We’ve run very effective and inexpensive social media advertising campaigns to this demographic recently, ensuring messages are seen and calls to action are traced, making for effective and efficient campaigns grounded in strong storytelling.

While the housing market has seen reduced activity and less starts than planned, for many of our customers who trade in the ‘improve don’t move’ space, this has meant we’ve been able to provide homeowners with a great deal of food for thought over the past 12 months. Going into 2024, this trend will continue, so it’s a great time for clients who make profits via home improvements to really start making their mark, whether this is via video, podcasts or influencer activity.

On that note, with a huge rise in the number of Instagram influencers in this space, plus pressures on the media, there are some good deals to be negotiated everywhere from influencers through to affiliate programmes (especially for FMCG purchases). A strong, consistent level of communication is seeing real cut through and ultimately, action.

Three top tips for construction marketing managers in 2024


Networking will continue to be a core benefit for us in construction marketing as we have so many events in the annual calendar. It’s a great way of meeting future like-minded agencies. People buy people, and events and conferences are a very relaxed way of making connections – ones that work for you. In a five-minute chat you can work out if the agency you’re speaking with is one you’d like to work with. That saves you spending over an hour briefing a potential agency, then another couple of hours in their pitch if the personality fit isn’t going to be one that works.

They are obviously a source of great knowledge too. If you can’t get to them, have a look at our blog as chances are we did and the write up will be there.

More events are popping up in 2024 and the calendar for the construction sector is jam packed. We hope to see you at some events soon!

Social media marketing

As marketers, we’re expected to know a lot of information about a lot of different disciplines within marketing. One area that we’d recommend getting to know a bit more is advertising on social media. Knowing the basics will help you identify an agency you want to work with. Many traditional PR and comms agencies like us now offer this service to clients, as an extension of an integrated campaign.

Websites such as Sprout Social can help provide an overview to enable you to go into a meeting with a base level of knowledge. The beauty is that, depending on the platform used, this can be a very effective and tangible way of reaching your audience, and one that is growing either alongside or as an alternative to using influencers. It also allows the testing of messaging amongst other things, helping to formulate a strategy.

Join our email list

If you’d like to get more hints and tips about the sector – and wider marketing/comms issues – then why not fill in your details on our contact us page and we’ll be happy to add you to our monthly email distribution list!

Let us support you

Want to grow your business, change direction, shout louder, boost your sales leads, or keep your brand out of the news? Our door is always open. If you think we can help, get in touch.