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The West Midlands saw the biggest jump in main contract awards during the summer months, experiencing a 68% uptick in the three months to the end of August compared to the same period in 2020, and 54% against the previous three months, adding a total of £1,688 million to the industry.

Wales took second place, falling from top place last month, adding £672 million worth of main contract awards, up 77% on the same period in 2020 and 42% up on the previous three months.

The East Midlands joins the top three with another 77% leap over 2020 performance, albeit with a smaller 20% uptick on the previous three months, however the region added a hefty £1,826 million worth of new contract awards to the industry. 

This article provides detailed insight into which sectors are driving growth in main contract awards in the top three regions, which contractors are winning the work, and how each of the top regions are performing in regard to detailed planning approvals and project-starts.

Regional main contract awards under £100 million covering the three months to end of August 2021

Region Value (£m) Change on previous year Change on two years ago Preceding three months (SA)
West Midlands 1688 68% 84% 54%
Wales 672 77% 20% 42%
East Midlands 1826 77% 52% 20%
South East 3249 46% 59% 15%
East of England 2306 60% 53% 15%
North West 2091 42% 60% 5%
Yorkshire 1251 28% 50% 2%
South West 1389 -2% 15% 2%
North East 685 2% -5% -3%
London 3418 25% 17% -19%
Northern Ireland 157 -18% -39% -21%
Scotland 1482 5% -3% -24%

SA: Seasonally Adjusted
Source: Glenigan

West Midlands

Despite project-starts remaining considerably behind both 2020 and 2019 figures, the development pipeline is strong with improvements in both underlying (under £100 million) and major contract awards (over £100 million).

Overall main contract awards

At £3,341 million, overall main contract awards in the West Midlands climbed 92% against the previous year and 113% compared with the same period in 2019. Major project contract awards, contributing £1,654 million to the region were particularly strong rising 125% compared with a year ago and 155% against the same period in 2019.

Underlying main contract awards (under £100 million)

Underlying contract awards experienced a 54% uptick against the preceding three months (SA), 68% against 2020, and 84% vs. the same period in 2019, adding £1,688 million to the region.

Sector breakdown of contract awards under £100 million in the West Midlands during the three-months to end of August 2021

Sector  Value (£m)  Share
Private Housing 792 46.9%
Industrial 211 12.5%
Social Housing 196 11.6%
Infrastructure 173 10.2%
Education 100 5.9%
Offices 97 5.8%
Retail 52 3.1%
Health 38 2.3%
Hotel & Leisure 15 0.9%
Utilities 12 0.7%
Community & Amenity 1 0.1%

Source: Glenigan

Top 10 contractors winning new work in the West Midlands during the three-months to end of August 2021

Contractor  Number of Projects  Value of Projects (£m)
Balfour Beatty  3 89
Kier Group  7 47
Royal BAM  2 43
Winvic  2 39
ISG  2 32
Bowmer & Kirkland  4 27
Oktra 2 18
J Tomlinson  3 18
Ringway Group  1 15
Benniman  3 14

Source: Glenigan

Detailed planning approvals

Detailed planning approvals in the West Midlands climbed 3% against the previous year but fell by 7% compared with the same period in 2019. No major projects were granted detailed planning approval during the period, in contrast to both 2020 and the same period in 2019. Underlying-approvals totalled £1,202 million and increased 15% against the previous year. Furthermore, the value increased 14% against the preceding three months on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis and 6% against the three months to August 2019.

Project-starts

Private housing work starting on-site in the West Midlands increased 39% against the previous year to total £190 million, accounting for 24% of the region. However, the sector experienced a 53% fall in the value of project-starts compared with the same period in 2019.

Industrial was an equally active-sector, with project-starts adding up to £189 million during the period. Industrial-starts increased 365% against the previous year as well as 43% compared with the same period in 2019, being boosted by the commencement of a new £48 million warehouse and distribution centre in Stafford (Project ID: 20307916).

Education project-starts also performed strongly and increased 36% against the previous year as well as 48% compared with two years ago to total £114 million. Education was the third most-active sector for project-starts in the region. The commencement of a £57 million extension at the University of Birmingham (Project ID: 18143111) provided a great boost to the sector.

In contrast, social housing-starts experienced steep declines of 65% against the previous year and 71% compared with the same period in 2019. Social housing project-starts totalled £99 million and accounted for 12% of the region. Infrastructure and offices also experienced steep falls in project-starts during the period against both a year ago and two years ago.

Wales

Despite project-starts remaining considerably behind 2019 figures , the development pipeline is strong with main contract awards recovering sharply against the previous year.

Overall main contract awards

Total main contract awards experienced a 149% uptick against the same period in 2020 and 55% against 2019, adding £1,454 million to the region during the three months to August.

Underlying main contract awards (under £100 million)

Underlying contract awards also performed very strongly, increasing 77% against 2020, 20% against the same period in 2019, and 42% compared with the preceding three-month period (SA).

Sector breakdown of underlying main contract awards in Wales during the three-months to July 2021

Sector  Value (£m)  Share
Social Housing 196 29.2%
Private Housing 144 21.4%
Education 118 17.6%
Infrastructure 108 16.1%
Health 25 3.8%
Retail 25 3.7%
Industrial 19 2.8%
Community & Amenity 15 2.3%
Hotel & Leisure 15 2.2%
Offices 6 0.9%
Utilities 0 0.0%

Source: Glenigan

Top 10 contractors winning new work in Wales during the three-months to end of August 2021

Contractor  Number of Projects  Value of Projects (£m)
Morgan Sindall  4 121
CRH  8 90
Kier Group  2 21
Read Construction  2 18
Jones Bros  2 11
JG Hale  2 9
John Weaver Contractors 2 9
Willmott Dixon  2 9
Bevan  1 7
Solar Windows  2 7

Source: Glenigan

Detailed planning approvals

Adding up to £548 million, underlying detailed planning approvals in Wales climbed 7% against the previous year. However, the value slipped back 36% compared with the preceding three months (SA) as well as 24% compared with the three months to August 2019.

Project-starts

Private housing was the most active sector for work starting on-site during the three months to August with work adding up to £110 million, accounting for 29% all starts in Wales. While the value increased 65% compared with a year ago, the sector was still 48% behind the same period in 2019. Project-starts included a £62 million, 218 residential-unit development in Newport (Project ID: 17327417).

The education sector was the second most active in terms of project-starts (accounting for 27%) with the value of work adding £103 million to the region. Education-starts increased 171% against the previous year and 138% compared with the same period in 2019.

Social housing project-starts increased 205% against the previous year to total £88 million, accounting for 23% of the region. Despite the uptick against 2020 performance, the value slipped back 4% against the same period in 2019.

All other sectors accounted for much-smaller shares of project-starts. Industrial-starts increased 48% against the previous year but remained heavily behind 2019 levels (-87%).

East Midlands

Projects-starts during the three months to August were, again, far below 2020 figures (71%) and 2019 (46%) however, the regions' development pipeline is firm with main contract awards steadily increasing.

Overall main contract awards

Total main contract awards in the East Midlands added up to £4,108 million in the three months to August, an uptick of 218% against the previous year and 100% compared with the same period in 2019.

Underlying main contract awards (under £100 million)

Underlying contract awards experienced a strong performance, rising 20% against the preceding three months (SA), 77% against the previous year, and 52% compared with the same period two years ago, adding £1,826 million to the region.

Sector breakdown of underlying main contract awards in the East Midlands during the three-months to August 2021

Sector  Value (£m)  Share
Private Housing 1019 55.8%
Industrial 344 18.8%
Infrastructure 112 6.1%
Social Housing 104 5.7%
Offices 101 5.5%
Education 60 3.3%
Hotel & Leisure 25 1.3%
Retail 24 1.3%
Health 20 1.1%
Community & Amenity 14 0.8%
Utilities 3 0.2%

Source: Glenigan

Top 10 contractors winning new work under £100 million in the East Midlands (three months to August 2021)

Contractor  Number of Projects  Value of Projects (£m)
Morgan Sindall  9 115
Winvic  2 96
Mclaren Construction  2 88
Balfour Beatty  3 63
Buckingham 2 42
Land & Water  1 28
Galliford Try  1 25
J Tomlinson 1 25
VIA East Midlands  1 24
Bowmer & Kirkland  3 22

Source: Glenigan

Detailed planning approvals

Overall, detailed planning approvals in the East Midlands totalled £1,378 million during the period, a decline of 11% against the previous year but was unchanged on the same period in 2019. Growth was prevented by major project-approvals which declined 58% against the previous year and 64% compared with two years ago to total £127 million.

Underlying-approvals (under £100 million) added up to £1,251 million and were unchanged compared with a year ago. However, the value increased 11% against the preceding three months (SA) and 22% compared with the three months to August 2019.

Project-starts

Private housing work starting on-site totalled £325 million during the three months to August, accounting for 51% of the region. While the value increased 16% against the previous year, project-starts fell 35% compared with the same period in 2019. Private housing-starts included a £68 million, 460-unit development in Gainsborough (Project ID: 19390382).

Few other sectors achieved growth, but social housing project-starts increased 40% against the previous year and 160% compared with the same period in 2019 to total £54 million. The sector, which accounted for 8% of the region, was the only to have experienced growth against two years ago.

Industrial-starts totalled £68 million and experienced a very poor period, having declined 64% against the previous year as well as 52% compared with the same period in 2019. Industrial-starts accounted for the second greatest-share in the region (11%).

Utilities-starts fared worse, having fallen 97% against the previous year and 77% compared with two years ago to total £37 million.

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