Construction in March gains momentum after a slow start to the year

After a subdued start for construction in 2016 the industry picked up the pace in March, with £6.1 billion worth of construction contracts delivered. This is the highest figures of the year to date which was particularly influenced by the continued strength of the residential sector.

According to the latest Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI, total construction contract value figures for March were almost 10% higher than in February. Alongside the improving figures, residential construction contract values were worth £1.9 billion in
March, 31 per cent of the total amount of contracts for the month (please see figure 1.1).

(Figure 1.1 – March contract value by sector) (Figure 1.1 – March contract value by sector)

 

The positive news from March continues as the commercial & retail sector increased its monthly contract value by 25 per cent and Infrastructure by 30 per cent, which is an extra £500 million of contract value compared to February.

Commenting on the figures, Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said:

“it’s encouraging to see the industry pick up the pace after a lacklustre start to the year. Housebuilding once again continues to storm ahead in the industry, as housebuilders continue to try to keep pace with the demand and appetite for new housing.

“With both the commercial & retail and infrastructure sectors increasing their levels of activity in March, it would be good to see this continue and take some of the pressure away from private housing, which has been the only sector that has continually grown and at times propped up the industry in recent years.

“With the EU referendum looming, this will be interesting to follow over the coming months to see what affect it will have across the construction sector as there is anecdotal evidence to suggest this is starting to make an impact on investment decisions inside the boardrooms of construction firms.”