Construction Industry Update – May 2024

Construction buyers see fastest growth for 14 months

Construction buyers reported another rise in business activity in April with commercial building work leading the way.

The Bellwether S&P Global UK Construction Purchasing Managers Index posted 53.0 in April, up from 50.2 in March.

The index was in positive territory for the second month running and signalled the strongest pace of expansion since February 2023.


Government set to fund £1bn final HS2 London tunnel drive

The government is set to give the go-ahead for the final HS2 main tunnel drive under London to Euston Station.

The project was halted as part of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s £6.5bn cost cutting plan announced last October.

This involved axing phase 2 to Manchester and finding a private investor to pay for the final 5.4-mile TBM drive to the station and the redevelopment of the Euston site through over-station development.

According to Whitehall sources, the Government has decided now to pay the upfront tunnelling cost of around £1bn to avoid further costly delays on the project.


Construction recovery rained-off in first quarter

Unusually wet weather in February and March shrank construction output in the first three months of the year, according to latest Government figures.

But a sharp rise of 16% in the first quarter order figures raises hope of recovery ahead despite on-going uncertainty caused by a looming election.

In March, monthly construction output slid 0.4% in volume terms stemming from decreases in both new work (0.7% fall) and repair and maintenance (0.1% fall).

At the sector level, while five out of the nine sectors saw a fall in March, private housing, new housing and housing RMI offered the first signs of growth for many months, up 0.6% and 0.4% respectively.


Skills shortage puts big infrastructure projects at risk

The deepening skills crisis is putting at risk the country’s ability to deliver big infrastructure schemes as the government prepares to spend an unprecedented £800bn on projects, MPs have warned.

Watchdog MPs on the Public Accounts Committee also warn a lack of necessary project know-how within Whitehall departments means the Government is failing to act as an intelligent client.

The report published today warns skill shortages in technical and engineering disciplines are set to worsen as gaps in the UK’s workforce are compounded by competition from major global development projects.



Construction buyers see fastest growth for 14 months | Construction Enquirer News

Government set to fund £1bn final HS2 London tunnel drive | Construction Enquirer News

Construction recovery rained-off in first quarter | Construction Enquirer News

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