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Housing and education work will help boost the construction sector in Wales in 2020.

Last year finished with ISG sealing an £89 million deal for the Cardiff Transport Interchange for developer Rightacres (Glenigan Project ID: 14221549), which was the biggest contract that the contractor won all year and a host of other Welsh schemes are also moving forward.

These include a £34 million extension to Cardiff University (Glenigan Project ID: 16008577) and the £26 million Westgate Hotel, also in the Welsh capital (Glenigan Project ID: 18307667).

The South West Wales Regional Contractors Framework is also due to start in March and produce £100 million-worth of work over the next four years (Glenigan Project ID: 19036858).

Welsh Top 10

ISG was the most successful contractor in Wales last year and won £175 million-worth of contracts. In addition to the Cardiff Transport Interchange project, ISG benefitted from education jobs including a £20 million school extension in Barry (Project ID: 18303890) and a £22 million college extension of Bridgend College (Glenigan Project ID: 18326872).

“Student resi seems to be a burgeoning sector too,” says ISG’s group head of public relations. “We’ve picked up a number of projects for Fusion in Wales.”

ISG’s latest deal for Fusion is a £65 million block in Swansea to accommodate 780 students (Glenigan Project ID: 16125894).

Mariner Road student accommodation scheme in Swansea

Local contractors are also benefiting from the improving situation and half of the top 10 contractors are based in Wales according to Glenigan’s market research.

Llanelli-based Morganstone only started out in 2008 but was ranked sixth in the 2019 Top 10 with £44 million-worth of work including a £28 million residential scheme in Tonyrefail for Tirion Homes (Project ID: 15130064).

The next four contractors, WRW, Jehu, BECT and Brenig, are also all based in Wales.

Like Morganstone, Jehu is also benefitting from residential projects such as a £10 million apartment scheme in Newport (Project ID) and the Bridgend-based contractor are looking to capitalise on strong prospects in this sector, particularly from housing associations.

Housing prospects strong

The residential sector is expected to produce a host of projects in Wales are moving through the pipeline and onto site according to Glenigan’s market research.

In 2019, the underlying value of private residential projects starting on site surged by 36%. The value of private residential schemes securing detailed planning rose at an even faster rate with a leap of 41% as major developments such as Persimmon’s Garden Village development of 750 homes in Swansea were given approval (Glenigan Project ID: 16277086).

Not only are private developers such as Tirion and Persimmon pushing ahead with schemes in Wales, so are housing associations.

A £20 million plan for 139 houses and five flats in Swansea from Coastal Housing, where tenders for the construction contract are due back on January 29, should also start this year (Glenigan Project ID: 19324440).

Welsh prospects

In addition to housing, education should continue to boost starts as the underlying value of projects approved in this sector leapt 62% last year.

Overall, the underlying value of construction project starts in Wales should increase by around 8% this year according to Glenigan’s latest industry forecasts.