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Refurbishment work keeps London construction active

5 Dec 12 Construction levels across central London have remained steady, according to the latest ‘crane survey’ by Drivers Jonas Deloitte.

There have been 25 new starts across London in the past six months, adding to the 34 recorded six months ago. The total office space now under construction in central London is nine million sq ft. 

Refurbishment projects now account for 25% of all space under development with 15 of the new starts being refurbishment projects.

In the City of London, nine new schemes have started to provide a total of 4.1 million sq ft – a 15% increase on six months ago. This is the first time that construction has risen above 4 million sq ft since Q1 2009.

Six of these nine new starts are refurbishments, the largest of which is QV Unit Trust’s 187,000 sq ft at 77 Queen Victoria Street.  The development profile of the City now shows just over half of the schemes as comprehensive refurbishments (14 out of 27).

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However, while construction levels continue to increase, the decision to defer many scheme starts in 2009 and 2010 means that completions remain low. The survey highlights that 2012 will record the lowest level of office completions in the City for more than 25 years at approximately 718,000 sq ft.

The recent rise in activity translates into delivery of 1.5 million sq ft in 2013 and 2.3 million sq ft in 2014.

In the West End, new construction activity slowed over the summer with just eight new starts totalling 270,500 sq ft –  the lowest volume of new space starting for two years.  The total level of office space under construction in the West End now totals 2.3 million sq ft, a 14% drop on the last ‘crane survey’.

Despite this slowdown, the 28 schemes that are under development are up from the 23 recorded a year ago. With further schemes identified to start in the coming months, positive market sentiment continues amongst both developers and investors, Drivers Jonas Deloitte said.  The West End has seen 572,000 sq ft completed over the past six months across eight schemes.

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