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The underlying value of college construction projects is edging up despite a weakening in the wider education sector.

In the 12 months to Q3 2022, the underlying value (under £100 million) of college work rose by 5% to £130 million according to Glenigan’s construction market data.

College work now comprises 16% of all education work starting on site.

Glenigan’s economics director Allan Wilén comments: “College project-starts provided a relatively bright spot for the sector and there is a reasonable pipeline of approved projects coming through.”

Starting up

College schemes getting the go-ahead include the £25 million Bolton College of Medical Sciences Development in Farnworth, where Willmott Dixon recently started construction work (Project ID: 19128660).

Other college contracts where Glenigan’s market research shows that a contract has recently been awarded include an £8.9 million extension to New College Durham, where Esh has started work after beating Kier and Robertson to the construction contract (Project ID: 21483159).

Government support

The pipeline of college work is being supported by the Government’s £1.5 billion Further Education Capital Transformation Fund, which was announced earlier this year.

As part of this scheme, 62 Sixth Form colleges in England are getting a share of a £400 million pot to upgrade their buildings and campuses.

These projects are starting to move through the construction cycle and Glenigan’s construction industry research has identified college schemes in England worth a total of £337.5 million.

The region with the largest pipeline of college work is the North West, where projects valued at a total of £79m have been granted detailed planning permission in the last 12 months.

Approved work in the North West ranges from a £3 million extension of Cardinal Newman College in Preston (Project ID: 22288282) to a £12.5 million proposal to add three buildings to the campus of Burnley College (Project ID: 21244822). In Burnley, Identity Consult has been appointed as project manager but procurement has yet to start according to Glenigan’s research.

Plans for more than £67 million of capital investment in colleges in the West Midlands have also been given detailed planning approval.

The biggest of these proposals is the £36 million plan to build a higher education facility on the site of the former Hippodrome in Dudley (Project ID: 20454955). Tenders have been returned and a decision on a contractor is imminent with construction work due to start before the end of this year.

Regional boost

Across Britain, college projects worth a total of £466 million have been granted planning permission in the 12 months to Q3 2022.

Underlying value of college projects with detailed planning (12 months to Q3 2022)

Sector Value (£m)
Scotland 90.0
North West 78.7
West Midlands 67.4
Yorkshire & Humberside 66.8
South East 63.7
Wales 38.3
North East 35.8
East of England 11.3
South West 7.7
London 6.3
Northern Ireland 0.3
East Midlands 0
TOTAL 466.1
Source: Glenigan
The part of the UK with the largest pipeline of approved college schemes is Scotland, where construction has moved to site on the £90 million West Fife Campus of Fife College in Dunfermline (Project ID: 16169284).
There are also £38 million-worth of college schemes in Wales. This includes a £12.5m extension to Coleg Cambria in Wrexham (Project ID: 21021180). Rhyl-based Wynne Construction will build out this scheme, which has been designed by local architects TACP.
With government investment set to stimulate new developments, the pipeline in this sub-sector looks set to remain steady in the near future.
Glenigan customers can see details of all new college construction projects if part of your subscription.
Not a Glenigan customer, but would like to see detailed sales leads for new college construction projects? Request a free demo of Glenigan today so we can show the size of the opportunity for your business.

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Request a free demo of Glenigan today so we can show the size of the opportunity for your business.