Pace quickens for construction sector

March contract value by sector. Source: Barbour ABI
March contract value by sector. Source: Barbour ABI

Construction industry analyst Barbour ABI has reported an increase in pace in March after a slow start to the year for the construction sector, with £6.1bn worth of construction contracts delivered.

The latest Economic & Construction Market Review reports the highest figures of the year to date, which have been particularly influenced by the continued strength of the residential sector.

Total construction contract value figures for March were almost 10% higher than in February, with residential construction contract values forming 31% of the total contracts value figure for March at £1.9bn.

The positive news from March continues as the commercial & retail sector increased its monthly contract value by 25% and Infrastructure by 30%, which is an extra £500m of contract value compared to February.

Commenting on the figures, Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “It’s encouraging to see the industry pick up the pace after a lacklustre start to the year. Housebuilding once again continues to storm ahead in the industry, as housebuilders continue to try to keep pace with the demand and appetite for new housing.

“With both the commercial & retail and infrastructure sectors increasing their levels of activity in March, it would be good to see this continue and take some of the pressure away from private housing, which has been the only sector that has continually grown and at times propped up the industry in recent years.

“With the EU referendum looming, this will be interesting to follow over the coming months to see what affect it will have across the construction sector as there is anecdotal evidence to suggest this is starting to make an impact on investment decisions inside the boardrooms of construction firms.”

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