The latest information from Builders’ Conference shows that both the number and value of contracts awarded in November recovered from the dip in October to the levels seen in the previous two months. This is good news ahead of the traditional Christmas shutdown and the industry will be hoping that activity holds up in the New Year and the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant does not cause too much disruption.
Small Increase in Number of Contracts
The number of contracts awarded in November was 447, a 23% increase compared to October (362) which was the second lowest level recorded in the last 12 months. However, the figure for November is still 12% lower than the monthly average over the last year (510) and 25% down on last November (593) when the country was in lockdown.
Value of Contracts Also Rises
The value of contracts awarded in November was £5.1 billion, which was 6% higher than the previous month (£4.7 billion). However, it was 12% lower than the figure recorded in November 2020 (£5.7 billion) and 28% lower than the monthly average over the last year (£6.9 billion).
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76% of all the contracts awarded by value were in the private sector. There were 156 housing projects worth £2 billion (38%), including a £150 million development at Shotley Peninsula near Ipswich to build 400 homes; 60 office projects totalling £527 million (10%), the largest of which was a £140 million project to build a new eight-storey office block in Bristol; 80 education projects worth £480 million (9%); and 20 industrial projects with a total value of £418 million (8%).
England dominated again with 87% of the value. London recorded 23% of the total and the West Midlands 14%, which included the month’s largest contract for £220 million to build a distribution centre in Sutton Coldfield on the outskirts of Birmingham.
Continued Lack of Tender Opportunities
The number of tender opportunities available in November was 386. Whilst this was slightly higher than October (379), it remains 43% below the monthly average of 663 projects available for tender between November 2020 and October 2021.
At present, there are 307 tender opportunities available until the end of February 2022, according to Builders’ Conference.
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