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UK construction contract awards rose 50% in April 2020

05/05/2020
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Despite the coronavirus lockdown putting many projects on hold, around £9.7 billion of new construction and infrastructure projects were awarded in April, according to the Builders’ Conference. 

The overall value of construction contracts awarded in April 2020 was up 50% from the previous year
(Image via Unsplash)

This represents a 20% rise on the previous month and more than 50% year-on-year (April 2019 saw £6.2 billion of contract awards). 

Two mega-projects can account for a portion of the rise: a £2.2 billion deal for Transpire Alliance (BAM Nuttall, Amey and Arup) with  Network Rail for part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade between Stalybridge and Leeds, and a £1.5 billion contract for the Bam Nuttall Morgan Sindall Joint Venture (BMJW) with Highways England on a 10 year smart motorways framework including installation of variable message board gantries and removal of motorway hard shoulders to install all-lane running. 

Both major deals include Camberley-based construction firm BAM Nutall, making this a particularly good month for them. 

Construction projects were at the highest value in April than any other time in the last year
(Image via Builders' Conference)

Other deals signed in April include a £482 million refurbishment of London’s 30 Leadenhall building for Mace, and a £300 million development for Domis Construction on Manchester’s Albion Street including a 40 story residential block and 14 storey office block.

17 companies in total are thought to have been awarded contracts worth more than £100 million.

Builder’s Conference chief executive Neil Edwards called the rise in total awards “ a glimmer of optimism for an upswing in workloads when the lockdown finally comes to an end”.

He did, however urge caution for the industry: “There will, of course, be concerns over the industry’s ability to convert all these new contract awards into living and breathing construction work.   In all likelihood, there will be a shortage of building materials when the lockdown ends while manufacturers ramp up production. A staggered return to work of staff to comply with social distancing measures could compound the existing skills shortage. And there will likely be a training lag as workers update competence cards that expired during the lockdown.”

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UK construction contract awards rose 50% in April 2020 - Time to read 2 min
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