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Whatever the outcome of the general election, publicly funded communities and amenity work is likely to continue to offer some good opportunities for new work contracts.

New building schemes which might have helped the existing government at the ballot box such as blue light projects and local authority buildings such as libraries have proved a fruitful source of contracts in recent months. This should be sustained by whichever party triumphs on July 4th. Meanwhile, construction work on the prison estate should continue to pick up, given the acute shortage of places.

The latest Glenigan Construction Review published in May points to more community and amenity work starting on site and a positive outlook for the work pipeline with more contracts being let and a higher level of underlying project approvals.

The Review shows that new community and amenity projects worth £527 million started on site in the three months to April, up by 87% on the previous year.

Meanwhile, new main contract awards in the sector were worth £1,406 million, up by almost a third on the previous three months and a near four-fold rise on the same period a year ago. Major projects awards, worth £950 million in the period, were one key factor. But underlying contract awards (for projects with a value less than £100 million) were also up by more than a fifth on a year ago.

The work pipeline for community and amenity work is also looking positive. Underlying project approvals in the sector rose 28% in the three months to April on the previous quarter, to stand 25% higher than a year ago.

Scope for new contracts

Glenigan data highlights numerous publicly funded projects of varying sizes which are in the pipeline and provide scope for new contracts across the country.

CGI of the new Stockbridge Library in Sheffield.

Construction on public libraries is one area where contractors look set to become busier. In Sheffield, detailed plans have been granted on the city council’s £24.1 million Stocksbridge Library scheme (pictured) involving a three-storey building which also includes community and office space. Work on the scheme, involving more than 3,000 sq m of space, is due to start this autumn and run for 24 months (Project ID: 24008865).

Meanwhile, in Liverpool, outline plans have been granted for a £13.8 million community and amenity scheme, Crosby New Library, which also includes health hub and office space as part of a town centre regeneration scheme. Work is due to start in 2026 and run for 17 months (Project ID: 23310214).

Upturn in prison projects

Mounting concern over the poor state of the country’s prison estate should mean the recent upturn in investment in new building work in the sector is sustained. Project starts on prison projects were worth £279 million in the three months to April, almost eight times the level seen in the period a year ago.

Major new Ministry of Justice prison building projects which are due to start over the next 18 months include the £300 million HMP Gartree 2 at Market Harbough in Leicestershire (Project ID: 21301670) and HMP Grendon Springhill in Aylesbury, also worth £300 million, and where ISG is the design and build contractor (Project ID: 21094516).

Meanwhile, work on a £225 million scheme to create 1,200 new prison places across England under the Prison Contracting Alliance – a design & build contract involving Kier Construction (Southern), Wates Construction and Laing O’Rourke – is due to get underway this summer (Project ID: 23280221).

Blue light project starts were worth £44 million in the three months to April, almost twice the value in the period last year. New building schemes for regional police forces are creating significant opportunities. Detailed plans have recently been submitted for a £69.8 million redevelopment of Mount Browne Surrey Police HQ in Guildford where work is pencilled in to start in early 2026 and run for 24 months (Project ID: 24116532).

Smaller police schemes also offer potential for new work. Plans for a £6.74 million project involving alterations and the refurbishment of a custody suite at Longsight Police Station in Manchester have been submitted where work is due to start later this year and run for five months (Project ID: 24130180).

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