Social housing and healthcare see growth in construction starts

Social-housing and health-construction projects starting on site increased in the three months to July as an increase in refurbishment and extension work outweighed the drop in new-build work that followed last year’s Comprehensive Spending Review. According to Glenigan, social-housing project starts increased by 19%, the first increase in seven months, and starts on health project increased by 17%.

Three social-housing refurbishment projects in London with a total value of £180 million accounted for a significant portion of the increase. Two projects were commissioned by Homes for Islington, and the third is for the repair of 21 000 homes for the London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

In the health sector, the south west and north west of England and London all saw increases in project starts in the three months to July. A 15% increase in the south west accounted for 20% of all new project starts across the country in the sector.

The largest project to start was a £70 million hospital ward block for the United Bristol Healthcare Trust, which is scheduled to take two years. Main contractor is Laing O’Rourke, which is also main contractor for a £20 million hospital extension in Blackpool.

Care-home project starts also featured strongly across the UK in the three months to July.

Overall, the underlying value of construction-project starts across all sectors was 8% lower than a year ago as the rate of decline slowed. James Abraham, economist with Glenigan, said, ‘The south west West Midlands, and south east all experienced growth in project starts in the three months to July, while the north east, East Midlands, and Scotland experienced the largest declines.

In other sectors, private housing saw a 24% year-on-year decline in project starts and education a 23% decline.

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