Construction contract awards plummet by 45.9% in May

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The total value of construction contract awards in May was 45.9% less than April, according to the latest Barbour ABI data

Construction contract awards were 18.2% lower in the three months to May than the previous period, however industry restarts provide hope moving forward.

The latest edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI highlights the total value of construction contract awards in May 2020 was £2.4bn based on a three-month rolling average. This is a decrease of 45.9% when compared with April and is also 52.3% lower than May 2019.

Contract awards numbers in May decreased by 16.2% to 263, approximately 73.8% below the recent high point of 1,003 recorded for February 2020.

The residential sector dominated the share of awards with a total of 31.4%. The largest project awarded for May was the Audley Square residential development valued at £250mn. Since reporting on contract awards in May, 14 of those projects have now confirmed to be on hold, at a total value of £63m

Planning approval

The total value of planning approvals has remained consistent throughout 2020 when looking at the three-month rolling value average, with May 2020 at 7,540, which is just 1.2% down on pre-lockdown figures in February 2020.

Tom Hall, chief economist at Barbour ABI and AMA Research said: “A continued decline in contract awards was expected for May and is in line with the government lockdown guidelines.

“However, we anticipate a slight increase in contract awards for June as restrictions continue to be eased and hope that the strong planning pipeline will come to site sooner, rather than later, as the sector looks to bounce back post-Covid-19.”

Read the full report here.

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