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Following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre twenty years ago, it was assumed by many people, including many in the construction industry, that that singular event would be the end of tall building construction world-wide. However, as is evident by looking at the world’s skylines today, the opposite is true. Indeed, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat has revealed that eighty four percent of the world’s skyscrapers over 200 metres have been built in the last 20 years.

The UK, although not the holder of any lofty international building-height records such as those found in the United Arab Emirates or Hong Kong for instance, has nevertheless taken up the baton in disproving the assumption that 9/11 would prompt the end of tall buildings. The Shard, at 309.6 metres and 95 storeys proves that.

Looking ahead, the trend to build upwards in the UK is only going one way; up.

New data from Glenigan, which looks at the trends in planning approvals for buildings over five-storeys since 2018, planning applications, and the opportunities within sectors and regions where planning approval has been granted, but work is yet to start on-site, should provide positive news for businesses working in this segment of the market.

Firms supplying specialist materials and equipment such as hoists, fire doors, UPS systems, roofing products and ventilation systems, for instance, should be heartened by the future pipeline of work ahead.

Planning applications

Unsurprisingly it’s private housing that is leading the upward trend in applications for construction projects over five-storeys as the figures to August this year show.

Planning applications for construction projects over five-storeys 2018 – 2021 to August

Sector 2018 2019 2020 2021 to Aug
Private Housing 606 637 646 516
Social Housing 169 175 196 124
Offices / Commercial 98 120 112 63
Hotel & Leisure 99 127 87 39
Medical & Scientific 6 15 12 12
Retail 10 12 11 9
Industrial 7 11 9 8
Civil (Infrastructure) 15 5 5 7
Education 14 18 9 6
Community & Amenity 4 2 3
Civil (Utilities) 1 1 2 1

Top 10 sectors pushing up detailed planning approvals

Looking at the number of detailed planning approvals from 2018 to August 2021 there is a definite upward trend in the numbers of approvals for projects over five-storeys providing plenty of opportunity for firms working in the is segment of the market.

Number of projects over five-storeys with detailed planning approval 2018 – 2021 to August

Project Type 2018 2019 2020 2021 to Aug
Apartments, Flats (Private) 524 555 521 377
Office Buildings 102 113 134 67
Apartments, Flats (Public) 98 97 116 80
Hotels/Motels 108 110 97 40
Houses (Private) 73 81 80 49
Student Accommodation 89 65 77 43
Sheltered Housing (Private) 35 26 15 17
Houses (Public) 13 16 14 18
Universities 12 16 12 5
Schools To Sixth Form 17 12 7 7

Top 10 sectors for construction projects over five-storeys with detailed planning approval but not yet started on site

Sector Number of Projects Value (£m)
Private Housing 1039 20,230.34
Offices / Commercial 163 8,017.97
Social Housing 293 5,368.00
Hotel & Leisure 170 4,250.89
Medical & Scientific 37 1,009.71
Education 29 881.83
Retail 23 473.28
Industrial 25 390.65
Civil (Infrastructure) 8 186.28
Community & Amenity 13 98.87

Top 10 project types over five-storeys with detailed planning approval but not yet started on site

Project Type Number of Projects Value (£m)
Apartments, Flats (Private) 896 16,949.57
Office Buildings 161 7,762.00
Hotels/Motels 152 4,133.29
Houses (Private) 107 2,738.94
Apartments, Flats (Public) 151 1,996.00
Student Accommodation 95 1,995.76
Houses (Public) 24 1,202.92
Universities 12 719.10
Hospitals 12 647.65
Sheltered Housing (Private) 33 470.39

Regional opportunities for projects overs five-storeys yet to start on-site

Unsurprisingly London claims the top-spot for future opportunities, however, regional locations such as the North West and West Midlands have significant opportunities coming their way, providing construction firms and materials and equipment suppliers outside of the Capital and the home counties scope for growth.

Projects over five-storeys with detailed planning approval but not yet started on site by region

Region Number of Projects Value (£m)
London 689 21,996.69
North West 173 5,122.54
South East 216 3,566.70
West Midlands 119 3,192.94
South West 128 1,590.30
Yorkshire and the Humber 102 1,382.22
Scotland 98 1,100.89
East of England 107 1,023.69
East Midlands 57 794.50
Northern Ireland 47 500.15
North East 29 380.05
Wales 35 257.16

Glenigan customers can see future mid-rise to hi-rise construction opportunities as part of your subscription.

Not a Glenigan customer, but would like to see detailed project information for every mid-rise to hi-rise construction opportunity in the UK? Request a free demo of Glenigan today so we can show the size of the opportunity for your business.