UK Construction Garden Remains Rosy July-21 Commentary of Contracts by Builders Conference

July traditionally marks the start of the holiday season for the UK construction sector.   But while some of those working within the industry have managed to get away, contract awards activity shows no signs of taking a break.  Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards reports on yet another upbeat month.

The industry is short of materials and short of skilled labour.   New equipment is increasingly hard to come by, and the spectre of inflation lurks just out of sight as wages for bricklayers and HGV drivers continue to rise.   And yet the UK construction has greeted all these challenges in the same way that it greeted Brexit and a global pandemic – with a shrug of its collective shoulders and its foot pressed hard on the accelerator pedal.

As the month drew to a close, the BCLive league table of new construction contract awards stood at £5.78 billion with 344 individual companies winning work during the period.   This compares favourably with July 2020 when 268 individual companies pushed the monthly total to £5.52 billion.

In a month in which 14 companies reported contract wins of £100 million or more, TSL Projects part of the Tonroe Group scaled to the top of the BCLive league table for the first time, buoyed by a £350 million contract awarded.   That contract – one of two won by Tonroe Group, which reported a monthly total of £402 million - is for a new manufacturing facility on the former Celanese site in Derby.   The new facility will comprise manufacturing facilities, start-up units, and a Food Manufacturing Technology Centre of Excellence.

Making a welcome return to the upper echelons of the BCLive league table after a brief absence is Laing O’Rourke, which also bagged a brace of new contract awards during July 2021.   The largest of these is a new build mixed-use development at Timber Square on London’s Bankside.   Valued at £195 million, the new development comprises almost 35,000 m2 of space with the lion’s share of it to be occupied by offices.   Client Landsec requires around 90 percent of the existing building to be retained while using a hybrid steel frame and timber structure to minimise demolition waste and embodied carbon.

Also making a welcome return to the top of the table is Multiplex.   The company was awarded the £300 million contract to build a new office block at 1 Leadenhall Street in London for client Brookfield Properties.

In a month with a distinct Far Eastern favour, Hitachi Zosen Inova UK got the green light for a £250 million energy from waste incinerator at the site of the former Skelton Grange power station just off junction 45 of the M1 motorway.

Sticking with the Far Eastern theme, the £202 million contract to build a new embassy for the People’s Republic of China was awarded to Chinese-based contractor BCEGI Construction (UK) Ltd.   Located at Royal Mint Court in London, that project will involve the refurbishment and repair of the Grade II-listed Johnson Smirke building, partial demolition and remodelling of the Grade II-listed Seaman’s Registry, and alterations to both Murray House and Dexter House.

Although it fell short of its now customary one project per day haul, Kier Group yet again topped the list of largest number of contract awards, picking up 10 new projects valued at a combined £187 million to take the number seven spot on the BCLive league table.

Regionally, London retained its crown, delivering 111 new contract awards valued at a combined £1.69 billion.   The Midlands once again enjoyed an upbeat month with the East and West Midlands picking up £592 and £401 million respectively.

Elsewhere, the North West region reported 34 new contract awards worth a combined £498 million while Yorkshire (£482 million) and East Anglia (£405 million) also experienced a welcome uptick.   However, both Scotland (£269 million) and Wales (£57 million) continue to lag behind.

Predictably, house building continues to carry the sector, delivering 171 new contract awards valued at a combined £1.59 billion.   Offices enjoyed a good month (56 new contract awards worth a combined £973 million) while the education sector contributed a further £519 million.

Although ongoing concerns over international travel mean that fewer people will be heading for sunnier climes in August, construction industry workers can take a well-deserved summer break, safe in the knowledge that the industry remains in rude health.

Quick review of BCLive table for July 2021

344 no companies were detailed as winning new contracts during July 2021

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

TSL Projects part of the Tonroe Group secured overall top spot with a two contracts worth £402 billion

Kier Group was the company with the most number of new construction orders in the month with 10no totaling £187 million

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Full and interactive BCLive Table for July 2021 can be found HERE

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