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INDUSTRY NEWS 7


Construction contract values at highest level since March, reports Barbour ABI


The value of new contracts awarded has reached £5.8bn based on a three month moving average, resulting in a 7 per cent increase on the month and the highest recorded figures since March 2017, according to Barbour ABI.


In what is traditionally a slow summer month for construction, the latest edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from Barbour ABI highlighted a boost to the levels of construction contract values awarded in August across all regions of Great Britain.


Residential construction performed strongly, as it has done since last year, and accounted for £2.7bn on the month, the highest recorded figure since Barbour ABI began tracking the series.


The high level of residential work helped the number of construction projects commissioned in August, seeing a monthly increase of 20 per cent, and up 15 per cent from August 2016.


Across the other construction sectors, commercial and retail building reached £785m in August, a monthly increase of 47


per cent. The two largest projects of the month also came from this sector – the 1 Park Place office development in Canary Wharf and the Intu Leisure Lakeside development in Essex, estimated to be worth £200m and £180m respectively. Infrastructure continued to struggle in August, with total value at £696m, a 44 per cent decrease on July and the fifth month in a row the sector has decreased in construction value. Regionally, London led the way with 20 per cent of the UK’s construction contract value in August. The north west followed London by value with 14 per cent of the total, largely thanks to an £80m development of Frontier Business Park in Blackburn.


Commenting on the figures, Michael


Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “The construction sector can once again be thankful for the strong showing of the residential sector, which provided £1.8bn more than any other sector in August, along with an increase of 55 per cent compared with August 2016.


“It is encouraging to see the number of projects increasing steadily, particularly the larger projects from the commercial and retail sector. However, a lack of investment in infrastructure across August and for the most part of 2017 is not encouraging, as we haven’t seen many major projects come to fruition, especially after it was highlighted as a Government priority earlier in the year.”


IT IS ENCOURAGING TO SEE THE NUMBER OF PROJECTS INCREASING STEADILY, PARTICULARLY THE LARGER PROJECTS FROM THE COMMERCIAL AND


RETAIL SECTOR Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI


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