It was a month in which house-building was usurped as construction’s busiest sector and when London was knocked from its perch as the UK’s busiest construction region. Both changes are to be welcomed, says Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards.
April, it is said, is the kindest month; a reward for the long wait for Spring. And that was certainly the case in April 2022; a month in which many of the longstanding norms on the BCLive league table were turned upon their heads to bring about some refreshing changes.
There have been times over the past three or more years in which the house-building sector has carried the wider construction sector, often accounting for a third or even a half of all new construction contract awards. Similarly, while outlying regions have endured years of highs and lows, London has remained a beacon of consistently high levels of construction demand.
In April, all that changed. In a month in which the BCLive league table topped the £5.0 billion mark, roads at least temporarily stole the house-building sector’s crown; and industry eyes switched from London to Scotland.
That redrawing of industry norms is evident from the very top of the BCLive league table in April. In a month in which 215 businesses won 319 individual contracts and pushed the league table to a creditable £5.1 billion total, Bear Scotland rose to the top of the heap like finest Scottish cream.
The company secured a single £740 million contract for the refurbishment and repair of the A96 trunk road in North West Scotland.
While Bear Scotland was winning big in the North West of Scotland, Amey was winning big in the North East, securing a £530 million contract award for the refurbishment and repair of the same A96 trunk road.
Those two contracts – together with 30 smaller contract awards – were enough to propel Scotland to the very top of the regional countdown while simultaneously ending the house-building dominance of the construction industry.
In a month foreshortened by Easter holidays, Kier Group rediscovered its mojo, winning an impressive 21 individual new contract awards to claim the number three position on the BCLive league table together with the prize for the highest number of projects in the month. In the company’s £512 million haul, the most notable new contract award was yet another road project, this time in the South West of England. The company secured a £430 million National Highways contract to extend the A417 between Swindon and Gloucester.
Completing the road overhaul of the BCLive league table’s top tier, BAM Nuttall claimed the number four position courtesy of a £200 million contract to provide a new link road between the M54, M6 and M6 toll road.
Completing the top five on the BCLive league table for April 2022 is Bouygues UK, which picked up a £200 million contract for the construction of a new wellness village at Pentre Awel in Llanelli, Wales. Let by Carmarthenshire County Council, that project will include the creation of a new leisure centre, a nursing home, assisted living facilities and social housing.
While the house-building sector recorded a very creditable £1.1 billion across 91 individual projects, roads and highways notched up £2.1 billion across just 19 contracts to take the monthly sector title.
Regionally, London fell well short of the £1.0 billion that has become the accepted norm, delivering 71 individual contracts worth a relatively lowly £784 million. Scotland, meanwhile, soared to £1.5 billion to claim the regional crown.
The South West (£574 million), West Midlands (£381 million) and Yorkshire (£366 million) all enjoyed an uptick in demand in a month in which even Wales (£235 million) experienced something of a resurgence.
Cynics might suggest that the increased spend on roads and the increased geographic spread of that spending might have been timed to coincide with local elections. Regardless of its origins, the change is as welcome as the arrival of Spring.
Quick review of BCLive table for April 2022
215 no companies were detailed as winning new contracts during April 2022
Bear Scotland secured overall top spot with a single contract worth £740 million
Kier Group was the company with the most number of new construction orders in the month with 21no totaling £512.8 million
Visit www.buildersconference.co.uk/news/change-for-the-better-april for more information.