November 2020; ‘still flying high’ says Builders’ Conference

UK construction’s refusal to give up in the face of seemingly overwhelming odds is as surprising as it is admirable. Builders’ Conference CEO Neil Edwards reports on another impressive month of construction contract awards researched by Scaffolding Association partners Builders’ Conference in a sector that just refuses to lie down.

On one side of the Atlantic, President Trump’s refusal to concede and admit defeat has gone swiftly from vaguely annoying to simply humiliating.   Conversely, on this side of the pond the UK construction industry’s refusal to give in to prevailing conditions is the very stuff of Rocky-style underdog movies; and is to its enormous credit.

Following a year in which it has faced seemingly overwhelming odds – a global pandemic, a national lockdown, and Brexit – the UK construction sector appears determined to see out 2020 with its tail up and its head held high.

In November 2020, construction projects researched by Builders’ Conference and highlighted on the UK’s only LIVE league table BCLive reported more than £5.7 billion in new contract awards. That figure is already unseasonably high – November is the month in which the sector traditionally begins to wind down ahead of the end of year festivities. But the fact that it was delivered in a month in which the UK had slipped back into a national lockdown makes it even more remarkable.

Leading the charge this month is BAM, which won four new projects valued at a combined £371 million to take the top spot on the BCLive league table. The largest of these is the £350 million new build of what will be the UK’s largest indoor arena, adjacent to Manchester’s Etihad Stadium. Boasting a capacity of 23,500 people, the new arena will also include offices and restaurants.

With 30 new contract awards valued at just over £361 million, Kier Group took second position and also the crown for the highest number of new projects, with the largest being a £100 million mixed use development in Westminster providing luxury & affordable housing with retail & restaurant space. 

At number three on the BCLive league table is Berkeley Group, the latest beneficiary of the inexorable rise of the house-building sector. The company claimed a pair of projects valued at a combined £312.5 million, the most notable of which is a £220 million housing development at the former Horlicks Factory at Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire. As part of the development, the factory itself will be refurbished to incorporate a rooftop garden. Proposed amenities include a nursery, café, local store and a gym.

A single £300 million project propelled Be First to the heady heights of the number four position on the BCLive league table this month. That project is for the construction of London’s largest film and TV production centre in Dagenham, Essex. The contract, which requires the construction of 12 sound stages, was awarded by California developer Hackman Capital Partners in conjunction with Barking & Dagenham London Borough Council.

Wates took fifth position with an impressive ten-contract haul valued at approximately £257 million. The largest of these is a £100 million office new build at Sherwood Street in London’s Piccadilly Circus for client Landsec. 

Meanwhile, in sixth position is Henry Construction, which collected four new contract awards this month including a £130 million contract to build 575 new residential units across four blocks in Southall for client Network Homes.

Worthy of note this month is Feltham Construction who picked up 23 new projects with a combined valued at £61.3 million running Kier Group very closely for the most number of awards in the month. 

Even though London just broke the £1.0 billion mark, it was the biggest regional winner with over 130 new projects worth almost £1.22 billion. However, with over £733 and £636 respectively, both the North West and Essex enjoyed exceptional months and Scotland’s comeback continued with an equally upbeat £310 million in new work.

The house-building sector once again reigned supreme, delivering 227 new contract awards worth a combined £2.3 billion. But, bolstered by the Etihad Arena project and the new Dagenham film and TV studios, the entertainment sector contributed a further £740 million to mark November as a month to remember in a year most would prefer to forget.

Stateside, President Trump’s baseless protestations now seem aimed purely at delaying the inevitable. Here in the UK, and despite the impending threat from Brexit and a pandemic that – like Trump – just refuses to go away, the construction sector appears to have no truck with the inevitable. And while the industry may take its collective foot off the gas for a well-deserved yet socially-distanced Christmas, all the evidence currently suggests that it will pick up where it left off when January 2021 rolls around.

Quick review of BCLive table for November 2020

  • 327 no companies were detailed as winning new contracts during November 2020
  • 593 no new construction orders were researched by Builders’ Conference all detailed on our UNIQUE BCLive league table
  • BAM secured overall top spot with over £371.5 million
  • Kier Group secured most number of new construction orders in the month with 30no totaling £361.3 million

The UK construction sector has never experienced a situation it finds itself in today. Builders’ Conference independent, verified real-time, construction information, sales leads and research has never been more important in allowing all types of businesses to receive LIVE construction information.

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