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Fri April 16 2021

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Infrastructure starts overtake house-building

21 Aug 15 Civil engineering looks ready to overtake house-building as the busiest sector of the UK construction industry.

Renewable energy contracts are helping to propel the infrastucture sector
Renewable energy contracts are helping to propel the infrastucture sector

The value of UK infrastructure contracts broke the £2 billion mark in July for the first time in 18 months, according to data gathering firm Barbour ABI. This was also a 90% increase year on year compared with July 2014.

Overall for construction in July, infrastructure had the highest proportion of contracts awarded by value with 27%. Residential construction, a linchpin of construction over the last few years, accounted for 26% per cent of the total contract value.

From a regional perspective, the northwest dominated infrastructure for the month, with 32% of all contract values. Contract awards in the northwest include the £250m Burbo Bank offshore wind farm and the £130m M6 motorway junction 16-19 project.

Barbour ABI lead economist Michael Dall said: “Over the last five months, continued spending on road projects and the growing amount of renewable energy contracts has propelled infrastructure to become the top performing sector in construction for July. It is evidence that the projects proposed by the government are starting to have an impact on the construction industry, though it is important that these move from contractor appointed to spades in the ground for the full effect to be realised.

“However, construction is still lagging behind its pre-recession peak by 3.2%, which compared to service sector growth of 9.2%, exemplifies the scale and challenge of rebalancing the economy. The commissioning of the large scale infrastructure projects that we have seen in July is encouraging but this momentum must continue to ensure growth is sustained.”

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