The UK construction industry has experienced some difficulty throughout the last decade, but due to a surge in rail, road and energy projects it is predicted the sector will return to pre-recession levels. Construction work is set to rise by 3.6% in 2016 and a further increase of 4.1% is expected in 2017. These rises in production work will generate more than £10.4 billion for the building industry.
Poor weather can contribute to a drop in sector growth and the UK construction industry did experience a decrease throughout January, but there is general positivity about the performance of the industry over the coming 12-18 months as the sector fundamentals are still good. The sector was impacted by the prolonged financial crisis, so the growth is welcomed by all areas of the industry.
A significant increase in new residential builds has been behind much of the sector growth, as well as structural alterations in city centres throughout the UK, but 2016 will see infrastructure projects make the largest contributions for the first five years. Major infrastructure projects are forecast to rise by 56.9% between now and 2019.
There are several major rail projects in the works, including the £563 million upgrade of Bank Station in London and the electrification of cross-country rail routes such as the Great Western Railway and the north-west network. The forecasts also include the new £4.3 billion super-sewer that will run for 16 miles beneath the River Thames and the HS2 high speed railway line.
Road construction was an area that suffered sharp cuts in 2011, but it is expected to benefit significantly from the government’s £15.2 billion Roads Investment Strategy. The Government’s 2011 National Infrastructure Plan listed 500 building projects and an intention to pull the country out of recession.
The sector has been vulnerable to stop-start spending decisions since 2010 but with work now beginning to commence on several projects that have been in the planning stage for many years, it seems likely that there is a bright future ahead for the UK construction industry.