Barbour ABI Construction Awards June 2019 Geographical Map

North West beats London as most active for construction contracts

Chloé Vaughan

According to Barbour ABI’s latest Economic & Construction Market Review, 36.6% of construction contracts awarded in June were to sites across the North West, beating London as the most active region in the country.

The North West’s position was bolstered by £1.5bn of works being awarded as part of the Sellafield decommissioning scheme.

London came second with 13.7%, marking a 22.6% difference between the two regions.

Barbour ABI Monthly Totals

The monthly totals of construction costs between the North West and London since 2018

Overall, £5.2bn worth of contracts were awarded across the UK in June, with 37.2% in infrastructure, 33.1% in residential, and 9% in education. This was a 5.5% increase on May.

Tom Hall, chief economist at Barbour ABI, said: “London has dominated project awards every month in 2019. However, for the first time this year, we see a shift in the spread of project awards across the country. Likewise, for the first time this year, we see infrastructure investment overtake the residential sector which as been the most active sector of construction for over 6 months.”

“We can see a steady increase in overall contract award value for the North West from June 2018 to June 2019. London’s contract award value is less consistent and fluctuates from month to month due to seasonality. The Sellafield project has boosted activity in the North West in June 2019, however, even removing this project, the figures still display an increase in construction activity in the region.”

Ed Howe from UrbInfo said that the ongoing construction boom in Manchester was also likely to have contributed to the region’s boost: “In 2019, 30 sites have started construction in Manchester. We’ve also had a further 28 schemes granted planning approval this year, which is usually the stage in which developers start seeking construction projects.

“Obviously there’s a huge pipeline of schemes in Manchester at the moment waiting to start construction, which will fuel contracts. As of August, there are 128 developments with planning approval across central Manchester, Salford Quays and Old Trafford, and 117 sites are under construction in the same area.”

Liverpool has also been a hot-bed of activity in recent months, with £1bn Paddington Village receiving approval for a 17-storey hotel and 1,245 space car park, and Peel putting forward plans for 70,000 sq ft of office space as part of the larger £5bn Liverpool Waters scheme.

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