Monthly construction contracts reach highest value this year

Barbour ABI, construction statistics, market forecast

The value of construction contracts awarded in September 2014 was the highest since January, at £5.6 billion — according to Barbour ABI’s latest ‘Economic and construction market review’. New contracts awarded in September 2014 were 5.8% higher than the month before and 11.7% higher than September 2013.

Unlike recent months, where residential construction has dominated the proportion of new contracts awarded, the latest figures have a more even split across key sectors. Residential accounted for 24%, followed by 23% for infrastructure, 22% for retail and commercial and 14% for education.

The value of construction contracts for education was at its highest for two years, totalling £811 million in September — 8.5% higher than August and 62.5% higher than September 2013. 22% of these contracts were in the north west of England.

Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, commented, ‘Over recent months, it has become clear that the industry cannot only rely on the residential sector to instigate long-term growth. Other key sectors such as commercial and infrastructure need to improve to make the recovery more resilient.

‘Construction in the education sector is booming, boosted by a number of priority school building projects valued at £10 million individually. This plethora of priority school building projects dominates the sector this month, accounting for 60% of the total value of projects awarded in September.

‘Going forward, this level of investment looks set to continue as measures announced by the Government in this year’s Budget will inevitably impact on the value of contracts awarded in the sector over the coming years. This includes £106 million over five years to fund around 20 additional centres for doctoral training and an additional £85 million over the next two years to extend the Apprentice Grant for Employers Scheme.’

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