The level of construction contracts awarded increased in September to the value of £5.6bn – the highest since January – according to new figures from Barbour ABI’s latest Economic & Construction Market Review, released last week.
This was a 5.8% increase on the month before, with values 11.7% higher than in September 2013. Unlike recent months, when residential construction has dominated the proportion of new contracts awarded, there was more of an even split across key sectors in September. Residential accounted for 24%, closely followed by infrastructure at 23%, commercial and retail at 22% and education at 14%.
Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said these figures will give “a huge boost to the construction industry”.
“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,” he said.
“While infrastructure is still performing poorly compared to pre-recession levels, today’s report appears to indicate a widening of construction activity, with growth more evenly spread. With recent forecasts from the Construction Products Association also predicting 23% growth by the end of 2018, this positive news looks set to continue.”
The report also showed that London and Scotland were the hotspots for the value of construction contracts awarded in September, accounting for 24% and 21% of the UK total respectively. This was largely down to a handful of big-ticket projects, including Phase 2 of the £600m Battersea Power Station contract, a new bypass to the west of Aberdeen worth £400m and a £300m on-shore wind farm based in the Highlands.