Confounding Expectations - November 2017 Review & Commentary of Construction New Orders from Builders' Conference

04 Dec 2017

Amidst talks of a Brexit-fuelled economic meltdown, the UK construction sector has abandoned the traditional pre-Christmas slowdown to post another positive and optimistic monthly tally of new contract awards.   The Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards looks over the unforeseen figures.

There are many unwritten rules within the construction industry: there is always a skills shortage; no matter what the Government promises, the industry never hits its housebuilding targets; and November marks the start of the Christmas festivities with a wholly predictable downturn in new contract awards.

But rules are there to be broken.   And in November 2017, the UK construction sector apparently decided to ignore the pre-Christmas slowdown tradition and instead pitched in with a sharp and wholly unforeseen upturn that pushed the BCLive league over the £5 billion mark.

That total owes much to a £1.2 billion contract win that propelled Clugston Construction to the unprecedented heights of the number one position on the BCLive league table.   Let by client North Lincolnshire Council, the contract is for the enabling works on the Lincolnshire Lakes Project that is scheduled to run for the next 10 years.

In second place and with the highest number of new contract wins in November 2017 was Kier Group which bagged a stunning haul of 26 awards worth a combined total £432.4 million.   The largest of these is a £210 million order for the refurbishment and repair of roads across Shropshire for the local county council.

Third place went to Sir Robert McAlpine thanks in no small part to a £250 million win for the construction of 387 apartments as part of the Victoria Square and Bandstand Square developments that will transform Woking town centre.

Galliford Try swept into fifth place with 11 new contract awards worth a total of £167.1 million, the largest of which is a £60 million order for the refurbishment and repair of the Marne & Bourlon Barracks in North Yorkshire.

Nine of the BCLive league table Top 10 each won more than £100 million in new contract awards in November 2017 compared to the Top 11 in October 2017.   However, the table also recorded 593 new contracts across 366 individual companies which is slightly down on the previous month.

For the first time this year, Greater London failed to top the regional round-up thanks to £1.4 billion of contract awards in the Yorkshire area.   Also knocked from its perch was housing which came a close second to harbours and waterways thanks to the Lincolnshire Lakes Project.   However, much of that work may yet be reclassified into housing which will redress the balance once again.

December is traditionally a time in which work gives way to festivities and in which new contract awards are often held over for the New Year.   But in an age in which Donald Trump is leader of the free world and in which November marks an upswing in new contract awards, we might yet see another increase in new contract awards; and maybe even a white Christmas.

Quick review of BCLive table for November 2017

366no companies were detailed as winning new contracts during November 2017

593no new construction orders are detailed on BCLive

Clugston Construction secure overall top spot with £1.208 billion of new work

New order winners in £1M to £5M category was Kier Group & the £1M and under category went to Morgan Sindall

Kier Group secured the most number of new construction orders in the month with 26no 

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