Build UK has published its March 2021 State of the Trade for Construction, drawing on data researched by its partner, Builders’ Conference. The latest information shows that both the number and value of contracts have increased month-on-month since the start of this year. One year on from the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of contracts awarded in March reached pre-pandemic levels, whilst the value was 50% higher than the monthly average in the year prior to coronavirus.
With the continued easing of restrictions, the industry will be hoping that this marks the start of a period of sustained growth for the sector, as the Government looks to drive the economic recovery through investment in infrastructure with its ‘Build Build Build’ strategy.
Number of Contracts Now at Pre-Coronavirus Levels
The number of contracts awarded has increased every month since the start of this year, with the 621 contracts in March representing a 4% increase on February (600) and another new high since April 2020 when the first lockdown was in place.
It is also consistent with the average number of contracts awarded each month in the year prior to coronavirus (621 between April 2019 and March 2020), indicating that the industry’s recovery from the pandemic is on track.
The Marketing to Contractors & Housebuilders feature (which is sponsored by South East Construction Expo) in the Sectors section of our Directory provides an overview of the sector, including
details of its various media channels and events, together with access to our downloadable database of those with responsibility for procurement at key firms.
Value of Contracts Continues to Rise
The value of contracts awarded in March was an impressive £9.2 billion, an increase of 15% from the previous month (£8.0 billion) and the fourth month in a row where the value has exceeded the monthly average of £6.0 billion between April 2019 and March 2020.
71% of all the contracts awarded by value were in the private sector. There were 232 housing projects worth a total of £3.9 billion, which represented 42% of the total value, including a £750 million contract to refurbish council housing in Birmingham. There were also 33 road projects worth £1.2 billion (13%), the largest of which was a £507 million contract to improve the A428 in Cambridgeshire, and 35 entertainment and leisure projects with a total value of £751 million (6%).
England continues to dominate recording 90% of the value of contracts, 23% of which were in London and 20% of which were in the Midlands.
Tender Opportunities Recover Slightly
The number of tender opportunities in March was 574 which is an 18% increase compared to February (487). However, it remains 25% below the monthly average of 768 projects available for tender between April 2019 and March 2020 and 27% lower than March 2020 (785).
At present, there are just 242 tender opportunities available until the end of June 2021, according to Builders’ Conference.
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