Strong start for UK construction in 2017

Monday 20 February 2017

Britains construction industry started 2017 in style as new building contracts awarded in January reached a total of £6 billion. 

Housing figures rose rapidly during the month, with the latest figures from Barbour ABI showing that construction contract value reached £2.7 billion, showing a huge 83 per cent rise in comparison to a year earlier. 

Private housing was the most successful type of housebuilding project in January, representing 91 per cent of the total construction contract value and illustrating a substantial rise from the 66 per cent recorded in the same month of 2016.

At the moment, there are £5.8 billion worth of housebuilding contracts approaching award status, indicating that growth is set to continue across the next few months and into the future. 

What’s more, the industry appeared to end last year on a high. Crest Nicholson recorded a 27 per cent increase in full profits last year, demonstrating the positive market conditions for housebuilders in 2016.  

The construction industry’s strong star to the year could mean more opportunities for sole traders in the sector, though it is key that their financial records are kept in good order. 

Using a freelance accountant will help professionals to make sure they receive they comply with all legislation and receive the right amount of money without becoming lost in complicated legal jargon.  

Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “Whilst the housebuilding sector is performing admirably, we expect to see its growth continue to flourish across 2017. 

“However, other sectors now need to start producing more auspicious figures, such as the commercial and retail sector, which saw a year-on-year decrease of 40 per cent last month.”

Mr Dall added that other sectors must start producing better figures, particularly the commercial and retail sector, which saw a year-on-year fall of 40 per cent in January. 

Despite typically performing well, infrastructure is going through a slump as last month figures were the lowest for a year, he went on to say. 

However, Mr Dall believes the number of projects awarded in January is “encouraging”, as the figures rose by 50 per cent in comparison with December and 25 per cent year-on-year. 

Across the UK, London led all regions in terms of total construction contract value during January, representing 26 per cent. One Nine Elms Twin Towers had a big role to play in this, as the £900 million project was the largest seen in the month. 

By Victoria McDonnell

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