Glenigan indicates bright outlook for construction


A renewed surge in planning approvals suggests stronger growth ahead for the construction industry in the UK, according to the latest figures from industry analyst Glenigan. Project approvals for the first two months of the year rose by 36%.

The latest Glenigan Index covers the value of projects starting on site during the first three months of 2015. Residential starts were unchanged on a year earlier, and non-residential starts dipped by 1%.

However, the first quarter of 2014 saw activity rise by 22%, with a 33% rise in residential starts and a 20% rise in the non-residential sector.

A further increase in activity looks to be in the offing, with project approvals up to 36% compared to a year earlier and a marked 54% expansion in non-residential approvals.

Economics director Allan Wilen said, ‘This replenishing bank of prospective projects with detailed permissions bodes well for growth during the second half of the year.’

The 1% fall in non-residential building starts masked a considerable variation for building types. There was expansion in hotel and leisure starts, but insufficient to offset falls in the industrial, office and retail sectors. The 18% expansion in education starts more than offset continued falls in health and community and amenity work.

There was substantial regional variation. The north east of England, down through Yorkshire and Humber areas, East Midlands, east and south of England all saw marked rises compared to a year earlier.

The south west, West Midlands and north west of England all saw starts drop— as did London.

At £2.2 billion, the overall value of project starts in London was by some distance the largest for any UK region, but 13% down on the first three months of last year.

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