Major infrastructure projects to steer construction sector back to pre-covid levels by 2022 - International Burch University
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Major infrastructure projects to steer construction sector back to pre-covid levels by 2022

Major infrastructure projects such as Tideway, HS2, Hinkley Point C (pictured) and Stonehenge Tunnel will steer the construction sector back to pre-Covid levels, according to Glenigan’s 2021-2023 Construction Industry Forecast.

The forecast, due to be published later today, concludes that “construction output will return to pre-Covid levels by 2022, with underlying starts 3% above 2019 levels”.

Underlying starts remove projects with a value in excess of £100M, to give a clearer view of the UK construction landscape.

The report adds that there is particular reason to be optimistic within the civil engineering and infrastructure sphere.

It adds: “The civil engineering sector grew sharply in 2019 with the value of underlying work (less than £100 million in value) commencing on-site increasing by 27% against the previous year. Whilst major project-starts performed strongly in 2020, the pandemic disrupted underlying-starts with the value falling 15% against the previous year.

“However, UK Government has promised record investment in UK infrastructure, with £100bn capital spending plans being announced for the next year.

“Significant infrastructure schemes, such as Thames Tideway, HS2, Hinkley Point and the Stonehenge Tunnel will be important drivers for sector activity over the forecast period, with the value of underlying main contract awards rising steadily in recent months.”

The report concludes that renewed strengthening in project-starts is expected from 2021 as investment programmes increase in activity, rising by 21% on 2020, with a slight dip (-4%) in 2022, before stabilising in 2023 (+7%).

Glenigan economic director Allan Wilen added: “There are definitely reasons to be cheerful and the Forecast provides a good indication that the construction industry is returning to pre-Covid levels of activity.

“However, the sector faces a number of challenges ahead. Particularly, the current shortage of construction materials highlights the potential impact of supply-side constraints on the pace of the recovery over the next two years.”

He concludes: “Civils and Infrastructure contractors will need to be agile in a post-Covid landscape, evolving with emerging opportunities, particularly with projects like HS2 Phase 1, the Stonehenge Tunnel and the second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) coming online.

“They will also need to mitigate a number of external risks, reinforce supply chains, as well as adapting to digital transformation and a more sustainable approach to building. Indicators suggest we’re now entering a highly-competitive era in construction, but equally, an exciting one.”


Department of Civil Engineering