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Construction activity back on the rise

A report released today (23 April) reveals that construction activity rose to pre-Christmas levels last month, after a sharp drop in February due to the bad weather.
According to Barbour ABI’s latest Economic & Construction Market Review, the value of contracts awarded in March was worth £5.2 billion – an increase of 7.2% on the month before.

Experts are now hopeful it will put the industry back on an upward trajectory with the value of new contracts rising by almost 25% year-on-year.

The report also shows that residential construction is still the most dominant type of contract awarded in the UK, accounting for more than a third of the total contracts by value. Only two of the past 12 months have seen residential construction take a slice less than 30%, a sign that house building continues to drive the industry’s long-term recovery.

On the findings of the report, Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “All the indicators pointed towards a poor month for construction in February, with the severe weather possibly forcing contractors to put work on hold and new projects unable to commence.

“Therefore it’s positive to see that activity has picked up again in March, with a healthy 7.2 per cent rise on the month before. This is backed up by the latest ONS construction output data, which showed construction output in the first two months of the year at 4 per cent higher than a year ago and growth forecasts for 2014 revised up to 4.5 per cent.

“It’s clear that the continued strong performance of private housing and upturn in wider infrastructure has aided the upturn in this month’s figures, but necessary repair works and flood defence projects will have played a significant part too.

“Looking ahead, business indicators and official survey data all point to plenty of momentum in the economy and growing confidence, which is great news for the construction industry.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Fiona Russell-Horne
Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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