Sun Continues to Shine Mar-21 Commentary of Construction Contracts Researched by Builders Conference

For an industry traditionally beset with a boom or bust mentality, the continuing highs of UK construction demand is almost worryingly positive.   But that positivity is backed by robust and verified research carried out by leading specialists Builders’ Conference which proves the sector has every right to be smiling. Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards looks back at yet another bumper month.

The good news just keeps on coming.   The Builders’ Conference reported that the construction industry had recorded an astonishing £83 billion in new contract awards in the 365 days since the UK was first placed in lockdown back on 23rd March 2020.   And now, as March 2021 draws to a close, the sector has reported a further £9.0 billion in new contract awards during the past month; driving the figures for the first quarter to more than £23 billion.

Riding highest on the crest of the current wave this past month is ISG, which topped the BCLive league table with a 10 new contract award haul worth a combined £1.03 billion.    The largest and most significant of these is a £750 million refurbishment and repair contract for the rewiring of Birmingham City Council’s council housing stock.   The company also collected a £150 million new build contract for the construction of a massive new distribution warehouse in Wakefield for client Mountpark Logistics.

Skanska claimed second place on the BCLive league table for March 2021, courtesy of two new contract awards with a combined value of £589 million.   The largest of these is a £507 million new build of a new stretch of the A428 in Cambridge between St Neots and Caxton Gibbet.   This new road will replace the only stretch of single carriageway between Cambridge and the M1 motorway.   The client is Highways England.

Third position went to Multiplex with a single £400 million contract win during the month.   That contract is for the construction of a new hotel on the site of the former American Embassy in London’s Grosvenor Square, Mayfair.

With seven new contract awards valued at almost £373 million, Engie took the number four position on the BCLive league table.   The largest of these is a £200 million new build for student accommodation for the University of Birmingham at Edgbaston.   This will include almost 500 beds, car parking for more than 450 cars, and a 50-year facilities management agreement.

In a month in which the top 19 contractors on the BCLive league table each picked up more than £100 million in new contract awards, Graham Construction took the number five position with an eight project haul valued at a combined £350 million. The largest of these is a £124 million refurbishment and repair project for Highways England that will see the company carrying out critical improvement works on the M25 at Junction 28 where it meets the A12 to Essex.

Kier Group picked up the highest number of contract awards during March with 23 new projects worth a combined £275 million.

Despite the resurgence of the infrastructure sector – particularly highways and roads – the housing sector continues to dominate, accounting for more than a third of all new contracts awarded in the month and contributing £3.9 billion to the £9.0 billion monthly total.

Regionally, London accounted for almost £1.9 billion split across 138 contracts. But the booming Midlands was hot on the heels of the nation’s capital with the West Midlands (£1.2 billion) and East Midlands (£404 million) delivering a total of 69 contracts worth a combined £1.6 billion.

The North West enjoyed another positive month with 52 new contract awards taking the regional total to £851 million.   East Anglia, boosted by the Skanska project in St Neots, notched up £686 million in new contract awards. Yorkshire reported 34 new contract awards worth a total of £572 million, while Scotland continued its recovery with 50 new contract awards valued at a combined £483 million.

For those that have been in the sector for a while, such positivity will be tempered with a slight unease at what might lie ahead.   Construction is, after all, the very embodiment on the term “peaks and troughs”.

But while it would be foolhardy to abandon our trademark caution, the foreseeable future apparently holds yet more promise.

Quick review of BCLive table for March 2021

• 352 no companies were detailed as winning new contracts during March 2021

• 621 no new construction orders were researched by Builders’ Conference all detailed on the UK’s only Live league table of construction contract awards BCLive

ISG secured overall top spot with a single contract worth £1.04 billion

Kier Group regained its position as the company with the most number of new construction orders in the month with 23no totaling £275.7 million

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Full BCLive Table for February 2021 can be found HERE

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