With a World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup to enjoy, 2014 was always going to be an excellent year. What we may not have expected was that for many businesses in the UK construction industry, it has ended up being an exceptional one. Just last month we were hearing from the Structural Timber Association (STA) that timber businesses were reporting increases of up to 163%, and it’s been particularly encouraging to see that construction output has enjoyed six consecutive quarters of growth.

As we raise a glass to a prosperous 2014 and look forward to 2015, it would be easy to get carried away. While we should remain optimistic, we do still need to be cautious. Recovery is not yet a done deal, and there are some big risks looming in the global economy – Japan is back in recession and the Eurozone is not looking strong. While Britain is currently riding high, the economy could easily be destabilised by factors elsewhere and this is worth bearing in mind as we pour ourselves another dram to celebrate a year of success. We’ve seen housing starts slow down a lot this quarter – granted this is a standard trend, and after such a phenomenal year it may be that the housebuilders have a reduced sense of urgency having already hit their targets. But equally, this could be an indication of challenging times to come. Call me a cynic, but is it possible that building is being held back until next year to soften a potential blow if things take a turn for the worse?

When we consider the possible challenges for 2015, the general election stands out at the top of the list. It’s certainly heartening to see that all parties are supporting housebuilding – so whatever the result we can be assured that building remains a priority. But nevertheless, we all know the negative impact that a general election can have on the economy and our sector in particular. We can expect decision making to slow down before and after the votes are cast as the nation waits to see the outcome before making any plans.

We saw this in Scotland this year with the independence referendum, and it’s guaranteed that this will also be the case UK-wide around May.

But it’s not all doom and gloom for next year. The Construction Products Association (CPA) is forecasting a 5.3% growth in construction output for 2015, with a 10% increase in private housing starts. The CPA also reported that while private housing has slowed in quarters three and four, there has been a rise in forward looking indicators such as orders and enquiries, which suggests that activity will also rise.

The industry is used to these cycles and with the 2008 crash still fresh in our minds, we have responded to this year’s highs with sense. Without a doubt, the truss industry has benefited from the increase in demand this year. Because of this, more investment has been made – particularly in machinery – which will benefit the whole supply chain, as it improves quality and efficiency. Wisely, these measures have been taken with caution, with many manufacturers improving what they have rather than growing capacities, and this will stand us all in good stead for the coming year, whatever it throws at us.

After a year of sporting highs, it’s inevitable that 2015 will be a comedown – let’s just hope the disappointment remains on the field and not in the factory.