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Bleak New Year warning from The Builders’ Conference

6 Oct 16 The slowdown in new contract awards in the run up to and aftermath of the EU referendum means that there could be a slow start to 2017 for the UK construction industry.

In the three months after the UK voted to leave the European Union, the value of new construction orders dropped 18% compared to the previous three months and by 33% year-on-year, according to data collated by The Builders’ Conference.

And according to Builders’ Conference chief executive Neil Edwards, this indicates trouble ahead.

“At the end of 2015, the rolling year total of new contract awards on the BCLive league table sat at an unprecedented £56bn. Today, it sits just below £45bn, a fall of more than 20% and a stark indicator of the uncertainty of an industry that is now in serious danger of saving up a problem for the New Year,” he said.

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“Tenders submitted in the third quarter of 2016 are down 31% by number and 45% by value compared to the previous quarter. Worse still, this represents a fall of 37% in tender value in comparison to the same period last year, and an alarming 62% in value on Q3 of 2015,” he continued. “On the basis that it generally takes around 22 weeks to move from tender to putting a shovel in the ground, January and February 2017 currently look very bleak indeed. While there is likely to be some adjustment in these figures during the next few months, the downward trend is clear to see.”

Mr Edwards said: “Those companies that are currently busy find themselves in that envious position largely because of the work secured at the beginning of the year when all the indicators were positive. If that positivity is to be restored, Theresa May and her minions will need to deliver a clear strategy on long-awaited projects such as HS2 and London’s new runway whilst delivering some clarity on what a post-Brexit country will look like. Hopefully, that reassurance will come as part of the chancellor’s autumn statement. If it doesn’t, the New Year is not looking very happy at all.”

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