Construction contract awards grow by 21.2% in August

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Construction contract awards have increased to £4.4bn in August, up 21.2% compared to last month, showing improvements in industry conditions

The total value of construction contract awards in August 2020 was £4.4bn based on a three-month rolling average. Although this is 21.2% higher than July’s average, it is a decline of 8.5% compared with August 2019.

The rolling three-month average data is positive, but an examination of the raw monthly data shows that contract awards in August were 37.6% lower than for July with a value of £3.9bn.

However, July was particularly buoyant and the raw monthly data for August perhaps reflects a return to more stable growth levels.

The august rolling average is 146.9% higher than the recent low point of £1.6bn for May 2020.

Construction contract awards
Construction activity trends from 2018-2020 show the impact of Covid-19

The latest edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from Barbour ABI, highlights levels of construction contract values awarded across Great Britain.

Residential sector leads the way

The findings indicate that the residential sector maintained the lead status in August, accounting for 37.6% of awards.

Infrastructure was the second largest sector in August with a share of 30.5% of awards.

Vying for third place the education and industrial sectors accounted for 9.4% and 9.0% respective share of contract awards this month.

The percentage of types of construction projects during August 2020

Yorkshire & Humberside was the leading region in August, which accounted for 23.0% of contract awards. The North West was the second largest region accruing 14.9% of awards and was followed by London which accounted for a 13.7% share of awards.

Commenting on the figures, Tom Hall, chief economist at Barbour ABI and AMA Research, said: “The UK economy continued its stronger than expected recovery in July, growing by 6.6% following June’s expansion of 8.7%.

“The economy has now recovered around half of the lost output between March and May. In the construction industry, contract awards returned strongly in July, but in-month awards were significantly lower in August.”

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