Contract awards continue upwards trend in September

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The total value of construction contract awards in September was 21.2% higher than for August according to new data from Barbour ABI.

Expert analysis shows the total value of construction contract awards in September 2020 was £5.4 billion based on a three-month rolling average. This is 21.2% higher than for August and is also 13.8% higher than September 2019.

The UK construction intelligent services firm’s Quarterly analysis indicates that total construction contract awards were valued at £13.5 billion in Q3 2020. This is 47.1% higher than Q2 but is 8.4% lower than for Q3 2019.

Raw monthly data has seen a significant uplift in September to £6.0 billion which is an increase of 52.5% on the £3.9 billion in August. 

Residential maintains lead status

Barbour ABI indicates that residential maintained lead status in September accounting for 32.8% of awards.  Infrastructure was the second largest sector in September with an attributable share of 20.8% of awards. The commercial and retail sector was the third largest this month accruing 16.1% of the total.

Construction contracts awarded increase

Interestingly its regional analysis shows that London was the leading region in September with 22.6% of awards. The second largest region was the East of England with 13.7% of awards and was followed by the West Midlands which accounted for 11.0% of awards. 

Element of catch-up

Commenting on the figures, Tom Hall, Chief Economist at Barbour ABI and AMA Research said: “After 3 months of recovering activity, contract awards over July-September returned to pre-Covid 19 average levels. Given the size of the shock to the construction industry and the wider economy that is cause for celebration.

However, these numbers will contain an element of catch-up from the lost activity in April-June, so underlying activity is likely to be somewhat weaker than the headline numbers. The recovery so far has been evident more in the public and infrastructure sectors, with the commercially minded sectors remaining slightly subdued. With significant uncertainties remaining it will be  interesting to see how the situation evolves over the coming months” 

Download the full report here.

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