UK Construction industry recovery gathering momentum

  • The overall outlook is positive, project-starts up 5% on Mar-May 2021, and up 49% on lockdown-disrupted 2020
  • The value of major projects starting on-site rose by 7% against the previous three months in 2021
  • Contract awards up 77% in value on 2020, and 8% on 2019
  • The value of work on-site rose during the first quarter of the year, with output rising by 2.6%

This monthly report provides micro-analysis of Glenigan’s comprehensive and accurate construction, data as well as macroeconomic commentary, offering indispensable information covering: market performance, top contractor and client league tables, the Glenigan Index, economic outlook, sector performance analysis.

Positive Outlook

Overall, the outlook is positive with construction recovery gathering momentum. The value of projects starting on-site averaged £5,395 million per month during the three months to May. This represents a 5% rise against the preceding three months and 49% higher than the lockdown disrupted period a year ago.

The rise against the preceding three months was due to a 7% increase against the previous three months in the value of major projects starting on site. At an average of £1,232 million a month, major projects were also 6% higher than a year ago.

Plans in Place

Further, the value of contract awards rose 8% against the preceding three months to stand 77% up on a year ago and 8% above the same period in 2019.

Also, the value of underlying detailed planning approvals grew robustly, rising by 8% against the preceding three months (seasonally adjusted) to stand 39% up on a year ago.

This is contrasted by an 11% dip in the value of work securing detailed planning consent during the three months to May 2021.

Upward Output

On-site work appreciated during the first quarter of the year, according to the latest official data from ONS, with output rising by 2.6% against the preceding three months although it was 1.2% down on a year earlier.  An increase in the value of projects starting on-site is expected to sustain further output growth over the course of 2021.

Commenting on these findings, Glenigan’s Economic Director, Allan Wilen says, “Encouragingly, further growth is expected with both main contract awards and detailed planning approvals strong. However, supply and cost of materials may dampen the pace of growth across the sector. Further progress will be needed over the summer to bring construction activity back to pre-pandemic levels.”