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INDUSTRY NEWS 7


Drone use in construction industry could provide £8.6bn GDP boost


Adoption of drone technology across the construction and manufacturing sectors could generate a £8.6bn boost to UK GDP by 2030, according to new research from PwC. The UK report – which is titled ‘Skies


without limits’ – analyses the broader economic impact from drone technology, with a particular focus on seven sectors from manufacturing and construction to transport and logistics. It reveals what PwC describes as “significant opportuni- ties for economic gains,” with the overall uplift in drone usage reported to poten- tially grow UK GDP by £42bn (or 2 per cent) by 2030. While more than 76,000 drones are


expected to take to UK skies over this period, it’s thought that as many as 4,800 could be employed in the construction and manufacturing sector alone. In the construction sector, for example,


drones are already providing cheap and efficient ways to map sites and track construction progress against schedule and the original design as well as inspect- ing structures for ongoing wear and tear. They also offer an effective method of


collecting three-dimensional information, integrating it with existing building infor- mation modelling (BIM) models. Rob Walker, PwC’s UK engineering and


construction leader, said: “Embedding drone flights in the construction life-cycle can provide a compelling ‘golden record’ of activity and we are already seeing tangible benefits from users. Survey times can be around 400 times faster than tradi- tional methods, costs reduced by as much as 40 per cent and data can be shared via the cloud with multiple stakeholders anywhere in the world. This enables faster decision making, and people can be freed up to focus on higher-value work. He added: “As businesses gain experi-


ence with this technology, we expect to see more evidence of the accumulation of drone collected data across wider programmes and tighter integration with other sources of management data.” The analysis also reveals that by


increasing productivity, a rise in the use of drone technology has the potential to save the UK up to £16bn in net cost savings by 2030, with the construction and manufac- turing sector set to benefit by £3.5bn.


Southern England sees price growth stall


House price growth is stalling in southern England, according to the latest Hometrack UK Cities House Price Index, while in the Midlands, northern regions and Scotland, stronger market conditions means the gap between asking and sales prices is shrinking. The latest Index has revealed that


in the south of England, the largest discounts on house prices are being accepted in London, Oxford and Cambridge, of up to 4.7 per cent on average. The data also indicate that the gap is also starting to increase in southern English cities, as affordability pressures increase. One anomaly to this southern trend is Aberdeen, which has the largest discounts from asking price of 9.6 per cent. Over the last year prices have fallen by 7.2 per cent in the city, and by almost 20 per cent since 2014.


Overall city house price inflation has


slowed to 4.9 per cent in April, with average values in London increasing by just 0.8 per cent over the last 12 months. This has been compounded by below average growth in cities across southern England, such as Southampton, Portsmouth and Bristol, where house price growth has slowed compared to the average rate of price gains over the last 5 years.


The strongest house price growth of 7.7 per cent is being registered in Manchester, followed by Leicester at 7.4 per cent and Edinburgh at 7.2 per cent. These cities are all recording house price growth that is higher than the average over the last five years, which according to Hometrack, is supported by attractive affordability levels. Richard Donnell, insight director at Hometrack says: “The strength of house price growth and level of discounting from asking prices reveals how the current housing cycle continues to unfold. The overall pace of overall city level growth has lost momentum as a result of virtually static prices in London and slower growth across southern England. “Weaker consumer confidence and modest increase in mortgage rates are also impacting demand and mortgage approvals for home purchase have drifted lower in the last quarter. The cities index reveals, how macro and local factors such as the strength of the local economy and the relative affordability of housing are influencing the pace and direction of house price growth.”


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