Further drop in contract awards for May but there are signs of improvement as planning approval figures steady

The total value of construction contract awards in May 2020 was £2.4 billion based on a three-month rolling average. This is a decrease of 45.9% on April and is also 52.3% Lower than May 2019. Contract awards numbers in May decreased by 16.2% to 263, approximately 73.8% below the recent high point of 1,003 recorded for February 2020.

The latest edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI, highlights levels of construction contract values awarded across Great Britain.

The residential sector dominated the share of contract awards with a total of 31.4%. The largest project awarded for May was the Audley Square residential development valued at £250 million. Since reporting on contract awards in May, 14 of those projects have now confirmed to be on hold, at a total value of £63 million.

The total value of planning approvals has remained consistent throughout 2020 when looking at the three-month rolling value average, with May 2020 at 7,540, which is just 1.2% down on pre-lockdown figures in February 2020.

Commenting on the figures, Tom Hall, Chief Economist at Barbour ABI and AMA Research said, “A continued decline in contract awards was expected for May and is in line with the Government lockdown guidelines. However, we anticipate a slight increase in contract awards for June as restrictions continue to be eased and hope that the strong planning pipeline will come to site sooner, rather than later, as the sector looks to bounce back post Covid-19.”