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Education projects starting on site have edged up, providing some reassurance that the government’s 10-year £5.3 billion School Rebuilding might finally be picking up some speed.

The total value of education projects starting on site in the three months to June 2023 rose by 8% on the same period in 2022 to £1,095 million according to Glenigan’s construction industry analysis.

The rise comes as the National Audit Office cautioned that only £2.3 billion of the £5.3 billion needed to rebuild or refurbish the 500 schools most in need of improvement, has so far been spent.

Glenigan’s economics director Allan Wilén comments: “Work on schools has provided the impetus for this year-on-year increase in the latest quarter.

“School project starts totalled £731 million during the three months to June. This total was 19% up on a year ago and accounted for 67% of the total value of education construction starts in the latest quarter.”

Schools on site

CGI of Farringdon Community Academy education project

School schemes starting on site in the second quarter of this year include those in the School Rebuilding Programme, such as the £35.7 million Farringdon Community Academy (pictured) (Project ID: 21058651). Glenigan’s construction market research shows that BAM Construction is building this scheme out for Sunderland City Council.

Other school schemes starting on site include the £37.5 million Orsett Heath Academy at Grays in Essex, where the main contractor is The McAvoy Group (Project ID: 21307180).

Coming up

Glenigan’s construction industry research has also identified a swathe of other school projects due to start on site in the coming months.

These include the £12.1 million Ysgol Y Deri primary school in Penarth, South Glamorgan (Project ID:). Vale of Glamorgan Council has lined up ISG to build this scheme and work should start in September.

Also in Wales, Willmott Dixon is expected to start work next year on the £28 million Blessed Carlo Acutis School in Merthyr Tydfil for the local county borough council (Project ID: 20462790).

Willmott Dixon has also been appointed to build a £15 million school in Walton-on-Thames in Surrey for the county council. A planning application has been submitted and work could start next year (Project ID: 23203934).

University growth

Outside of schools, work from universities also buoyed education construction starts in the second quarter of this year. At £273 million, university work provided 25% of the total value of education starts. This figure is up 35% on the second quarter of last year.

University work starting in this period includes the £19.3 million third phase of work at Anglia Ruskin University in Peterborough, where Morgan Sindall is building a new two-storey building (Project ID: 22389587).

Elsewhere, Kier has begun work on a £52 million business school for the University of Derby (Project ID: 21203571). Work is due to run until early 2025.

A number of university schemes are also due to start soon, including a £12.7 million amenities building at the University of Nottingham, where GF Tomlinson is expected to begin construction in August (Project ID: 23156426).

Work on a £30 million Digital Life Building at Teesside University (Project ID: 23018845) should start early next year according to Glenigan’s construction industry analysis.

Picking up

With a major backlog of work still to be commissioned from the School Rebuilding Programme, the education sector looks set to keep contractors busy for some time.

Glenigan customers can see details of all new education projects if covered by your subscription.
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