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Value of UK construction contract awards falls by almost a tenth

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·2-min read
The total value of construction contract awards in October slumped 9.4% to £4.9bn. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The total value of construction contract awards in October slumped 9.4% to £4.9bn. Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The total value of construction contract awards in October slumped 9.4% to £4.9bn ($6.5bn), compared with the previous month, based on a three-month rolling average.

It was also a 1.1% fall compared with the year before, data published on Friday showed.

However, there was an 8.7% increase for contract award numbers this month at 871 compared with September, the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI revealed.

In the three months to October, total contract awards were valued at £14.7bn, a 75.7% rise compared with the previous quarter and a 1.3% jump for the comparable quarter ending October 2019.

The North West was the leading region in October with 19.8% of awards and a total of 120 projects. The second largest region in the month was London, with a value share of 13.8%. Coming in third place was the East of England and Scotland, both with 11.1% of awards.

The figures also showed analysis by sector, which indicated that residential construction maintained lead status in October accounting for 36.8% of awards.

This was followed by industrial construction (12.1%) and commercial and retail (14.3%).

READ MORE: UK construction slide barely slows in October - PMI

Tom Hall, chief economist at Barbour ABI and AMA Research said: “It is encouraging that since coming out of the first UK-wide lockdown, contract awards remain at long-term average levels.

“While there remain many downside risks, more positive news has emerged over the last month, not least construction sites staying open over the second lockdown plus positive vaccine trials. We therefore have a greater level of confidence that activity will be maintained over the short term.”

The news comes as the UK construction rebound slowed in September.

A bellwether survey of construction chiefs showed a fourth month of expansion in August, but at a slower pace than the previous month when analysts had expected momentum to keep growing.

The headline figure on a widely watched purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the sector came in at 54.6 last month, down from a strong 58.1 in July.

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