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Construction Contract Awards Surpasses £9bn in April

The value of construction contract awards reached £9.1bn in April 2021, up 58 per cent from the previous month, according to the latest Economic & Construction Market Review from Barbour ABI.

Among those figures, residential contract awards increased in April to £2.5bn, up from £2.0bn in March. Infrastructure performed strongly, with total value of contract awards reaching £2.1bn, the first monthly value over £2bn since January 2020. The industrial sector activity also saw the second-highest monthly value on record of £1.2bn in April, driven once again by warehousing.

Tom Hall, chief economist at Barbour ABI and AMA Research, said: “Building on the improvements in the planning environment we reported in March, April saw a bumper month for contract awards. This is the highest value since January last year. All sectors apart from healthcare saw sizeable monthly increases to well above their long-term average values, particularly the infrastructure and commercial sectors.”

However, the data showed that planning approvals fell by a fifth between March and April. Writing in the report, AMA Research said that this was due to falls in the residential sector and the major commercial projects approved in March. The authors added: “The industrial sector remained strong while the infrastructure and education sectors rose. However, the healthcare sector suffered its weakest month since July 2019 with just £60m of projects approved.”