Crisis, What Crisis?

The seemingly ceaseless machinations over Brexit continue to divide opinion and add to the financial uncertainty while the trading of tariffs between the US and China further undermine the global economy. Meanwhile, the UK construction industry has just delivered its largest monthly contract awards total in more than 12 months. The Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards reports.

After eight consecutive months in which the monthly contract award total on the BCLive league table exceeded the £4 billion mark, another month of roughly the same total would have been very welcome indeed. The UK construction industry, however, had other ideas. 

While economists scan the horizon for a yet another impending financial meltdown and politicians on both sides of the Atlantic do their level best to deliver it, UK construction turned in its best new contract awards figures since August 2017. And while the figures from 13 months ago were queered by an enormous blip in the shape of almost £8 billion of HS2-related work, September 2018 hit a yearly high of £5.84 billion with a collection of 653 smaller but nonetheless notable new contracts.

King of the Hill for September 2018 was Ringway Jackson which scaled to the top of the BCLive league table with a single contract valued at £600 million. That contract is an extensive carriageway refurbishment and repair programme for at various locations for Cheshire East Council that also includes street lighting and winter maintenance.

A pair of contracts worth a combined total of £375 million saw Lendlease take the second spot on the table. The largest of these was a £350 million contract for the construction of a new 40-storey tower block at 6-8 Bishopsgate in London for client Stanhope PLC.

With the housing sector once again leading the way and accounting for approximately 44% percent of the monthly total, Weston Homes surged into third space with an impressive 13 contract haul worth a combined £251 million. The most notable to these was a £100 million contract for the construction of 1,089 new dwellings in Abbey Road, Barking which will also include transformation of the riverside and the provision of a range of community based activities including a new riverside gastro-pub/restaurant and retail space.

As further evidence of the strength of the housing market, Mace took fourth spot, courtesy of a single contract valued at £179 million for the construction of 524 homes in London’s E20 area for client Delancey Estates.

Further underlining the ongoing dominance of the housing sector, fifth place went to Bellway Homes which amassed 10 new contract awards valued at a combined £164.6 million during the month. The largest of these was a £32.6 million in Hailsham, East Sussex

In a month in which the top 14 on the BCLive league table each amassed totals of £100 million or more, BAM took sixth spot with six contracts worth a combined £158.5 million;

John Paul Construction won four new contract awards worth a total of £152.5 million to take seventh place; while Taylor Wimpey came in eight thanks to an eight contract haul worth just over £146 million. Morgan Sindall won the largest number of contracts to claim 10th spot with 15 individual orders worth a combined £140.1 million.

Whether the UK construction can see out 2018 without its monthly contract award total slipping below the £4 billion mark remains uncertain, particularly as we will soon enter that time of year when many clients begin to defer new work until the New Year. But given its current ability to shrug off the economic uncertainty and political unrest, it would take a brave man or woman to bet against it.

Quick review of BCLive table for September 2018

· 392no companies were detailed as winning new contracts during September 2018

· 649no new construction orders are detailed on BCLive

· Ringway Jacobs secure overall top spot with £600 million of new work

· New order winners in £1M to £5M category was Morgan Sindall Group with office throughout the UK & the £1M and under category went to Westridge Construction who are based in East Sussex

· Morgan Sindall Group secured the most number of new construction orders in the month with 15no.

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