Beacon of Light - One year on after first lockdown, we look back over that period

New figures from construction market intelligence provider Builders’ Conference show that the UK construction industry secured more than £83 billion in new contract awards in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing national lockdown.

It is precisely 12 months since UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson took the unprecedented step of plunging the UK into lockdown to control the spread of the Coronavirus and thereby safeguard the National Health Service (NHS).

At the time, there were justifiable concerns about what this would mean for the traditionally labour intensive construction sector.   But, having been granted key worker status, the sector rose to the challenge to help lead the national economy towards recovery.

According to new figures from market intelligence provider The Builders’ Conference, the UK construction sector secured well over 6,000 new projects since the first lockdown began.   Those contracts have a remarkable combined value of more than £83 billion.

“£83 billion in new construction work in just 12 months breaks all previous records on the BCLive league table of verified and real-time construction contract award data,” says Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards.   “It would be an incredible achievement at any time.    But to have accomplished that in the midst of a global pandemic and against the backdrop of Brexit and wider economic concerns is just astonishing.”

Although the figures for the past 12 months were buoyed by the award of more HS2-related work, it is the housing sector that has continued to lead.   House building accounted for almost 2,500 new contract awards with a combined value of just under £32 billion.   Railways contributed 42 new contract awards worth an impressive £11.97 billion, while roads accounted for a further £7.1 billion.   Offices (£5.0 billion), education (£4.7 billion) and entertainment (£3.1 billion) also made a significant contribution to the 365 day figures.

Edwards reports that there has been a sharp uptick in the number and frequency of companies accessing the real-time data provided by The Builders’ Conference over the past year as contractors have sought up-to-the-minute information upon which to base key business decisions.    “With the uncertainty triggered by the lockdown, construction companies were searching for verified and reliable information more than ever before,” Edwards continues.   “Our data is unique in that it is verified by a highly qualified team of researchers and updated in real-time.   The timeliness and the veracity of that information has proved vital to many in the sector and gave companies the reassurance they required to continue working, to continue investing, and continue employing and training their people.  Remarkably, many UK construction businesses will emerge from this unprecedented period leaner, stronger and more focused than before.” The increased industry reliance upon the data from the BCLive league table is just reward for The Builders’ Conference.   “We pioneered the provision of real-time contract award data when we launched the BCLive league table back in 2009.   And following a significant investment in 2018, we reinforced that commitment with the introduction of our digitally advanced platform which is called Serino, to provide our members and users with even greater access to the market intelligence they require,” Edwards concludes.

“As we pause for the National Day of Reflection, I think it’s only right that we should once again say a huge Thank You to the front line workers of the NHS that helped us all through the COVID-19 and that are doing so again as the vaccination programme is rolled out.   But we should also spare a thought for the key workers in the construction sector that soldiered on throughout the lockdown that carried the weight of economic expectation on their shoulders while the nation was in lockdown and that continue to do so today.”

Notes

Builders’ Conference are a not for profit organisation who are dedicated to maintain high level of services when researching UK construction information and we have been proud to have been bringing validated UK construction information since 1935.

dated 23rd March 2021

 

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