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Commercial office projects increase by a quarter

A surge in office construction is helping to drive growth in the construction sector, according to Barbour ABI figures.

January 2015 saw a 26% increase in the value of office construction projects awarded in the UK compared to the same time last year, accounting for almost three quarters (74%) of the total value of all contracts awarded within the commercial and retail sector last month.

The award of major project contracts such as the £100m development of Atlantic Square in Glasgow and the £90m 70 St Mary’s Axe scheme in London, were key contributors to the surge in activity.

The figures also revealed the total value of commercial and retail contracts awarded in January was £823m – a 22.7% increase on January 2014.

Commenting on the findings from the Economic Construction Market Review, Barbour ABI lead economist Michael Dall said: “The development of new office space has really gathered pace over the past 12 months and January’s figures now show this dominance.

“As the UK makes its economic recovery, more and more businesses are gaining the confidence to invest in their working environments and this increasing confidence is now translating into numbers.”

Other findings from the January summary include:

  • The total value of new UK construction contracts awarded in January was £5.5bn based on a three-month rolling average – 4.0% up on December but a 0.8% decrease on the value recorded in January 2014.
  • The number of construction projects within the UK in January was up 38% from December but this increase should be viewed cautiously as December is traditionally a slower month. In context, January 2015 saw a 8.1% drop versus January 2014.

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