Figures show boom in commercial and retail construction sector

Barbour ABI, statistics, contracts

The value of commercial and retail construction contracts awarded in February 2015 was nearly 70% higher than in February last year, according to figures from Barbour ABI, which supplies construction data to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Cabinet and Treasury. The £1.1 billion-worth of projects awarded in February was also 35.4% higher than in January 2015.

Contracts for key projects such as the Pinnacle Building in the City of London were a major contributor to the surge and led to office projects accounting for a sizeable proportion of commercial and retail contracts awarded in February. That month also saw a marked increase in the food-retailing sector, with projects making up 19% of work awarded, up by 10% on February 2014.

Commenting on the figures, Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said, ‘It’s good news that commercial and retail construction is on the up as, sector-wise, it is the second biggest contributor to the overall industry in the UK after housebuilding. Last month [February], for example, it was widely assumed that the decline in ONS construction output was because of a reduction in housebuilding, but it was, in fact, a dip in commercial and retail contracts that was mostly responsible for the downward trend.

‘Overall, there has been a surge in commercial and retail construction, but this boom is still very much led from the capital. In fact, London saw a 16.1% increase in project value versus February last year, which far exceeds any other region. The West Midlands, for example, was next in line at just 3.7%.’

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