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Scottish construction is set for a boost with an increase in opportunities across a range of sectors.

The overall value of projects given detailed planning approval in Scotland in the first quarter of this year rose by 11% on the same period a year ago according to Glenigan’s construction industry research. Work worth a total of £2,574 million was granted planning permission.

CGI of the Telephone House student accommodation development on Dundee

Schemes granted planning permission during the first quarter of 2024 and expected to start on site later this year include the £70.1 million Telephone House student accommodation development in Dundee (Project ID: 23326172) (pictured) and a £150 million warehouse scheme in Kilmarnock (Project ID: 23080522).

Caledonian contracts

Projects given planning approval are moving to main contract award in greater numbers. A main contract was awarded on £2 billion-worth of projects in the first quarter of 2024, according to Glenigan’s construction industry analysis. This total is up by 22% on the final quarter of last year.

Balfour Beatty has secured the biggest annual order book in Scotland. This workload includes schemes expected to start on site in the next 12 months such as the £80 million redevelopment and refurbishment of Caithness General Hospital in Wick (Project ID: 23115006).

Scotland – Top 10 contractors April 2023 to March 2024

Position Contractor Number of Projects Civil (£m) Building (£m) Total (£m)
1 Balfour Beatty 13 18.0 322.6 353.7
2 Galliford Try 56 20.8 213.0 289.9
3 Clark Contracts 31 0.9 190.9 222.8
4 CCG 17 0.0 173.3 190.3
5 Graham 6 17.1 150.7 173.8
6 Royal BAM 4 33.3 122.0 159.3
7 RJ McLeod 10 81.7 48.6 140.3
8 Morgan Sindall 12 2.0 105.0 119.0
9 Robertson 13 0.0 93.2 106.2
10 Renew 4 78.0 0.0 82.0

Source: Glenigan

Accommodating hotel sector

The outlook for the hotel & leisure sector has improved after a strong start to the year with a 77% rise in the value of work approved compared to the initial quarter of 2024.

Major hotel projects due to help future workloads include the £100 million Project Luna development in Edinburgh, where Glenigan’s construction market research suggests  work will begin in November (Project ID: 20291183).

A £53 million redevelopment of the city’s famous Jenners department store into a hotel should begin in June (Project ID: 19415907).

Schools In

Workload from the education sector is also strengthening with projects worth a total of £174 million granted planning permission in the first quarter of this year. That total is 174% greater than for the same period in 2023.

Education schemes approved in the first quarter of 2024 include a £30.1 million extension of Trinity Academy in Edinburgh (Project ID: 23083122).

Approved schemes are also moving through the cycle. Royal Bam – ranked sixth in Glenigan’s Scottish Top 10 – has been lined up to build the £80 million South & West Fife New High School development in Dunfermline, where work should begin in June (Project ID: 20454678).

Student rise

The value of approved work in the social housing sector boomed by 41% in the first quarter, driven by a swathe of student accommodation developments that will lift workloads in the next 12 months.

Glenigan’s construction market research shows that work will begin on the £70 million Albany House development at the University of St Andrews in July, while a £127 million redevelopment of the former Tynecastle High School in Edinburgh into student housing should start next January (Project ID: 21093326).

Scottish future

The work gaining approval will support all levels of the industry as the total value of work approved at an underlying level, which is projects valued at £100m or below, rose by 20% on a year ago. With projects coming on stream in a range of sectors, the outlook for Scotland’s construction industry is improving.

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