Over 99% of the 3.7 million businesses in the UK are small to medium enterprises (SMEs), with less than 250 employees. Of these 90% are micro firms, ie they have less than 10 employees, and 2.3 million are 'size class zero' businesses, ie they are made up of a sole trader. As small or occasional clients (SOCs) for buildings, SMEs consume about 40% of the energy used within the business sector. Within the construction sector over 86% of employees work within SMEs, being responsible for about 75% of the industry's turnover.
The DETR are therefore eager to ensure that the results of their research and information arising from their initiatives are made available and relevant to the SME target audience, both to assist them as clients or to inform them as construction professionals or tradespeople. The sector merits specific attention as SMEs face a variety of problems in acting on the policies and advice emanating from the DETR. These include: