Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick announced major changes to the planning system in an article for The Telegraph recently. The reforms will introduce simpler and faster processes to deliver the homes and places needed in areas designated for growth or renewal, and further information is expected to be published later this week.
This is welcome news for the construction industry, as the latest information from Builders' Conference underlines the continuing impact of coronavirus on contracts and tender opportunities. Pre-coronavirus between July 2019 and March 2020, the number of contracts awarded each month averaged 587. In July 2020, there were 430 contracts awarded, which was a slight improvement on the 415 contracts awarded in June, but 27% below the average and 30% less than in July 2019.
The value of contracts awarded in July increased by 50% to £5.4 billion, compared to £3.6 billion in June, which was primarily driven by two large mixed-use development contracts with a combined value of £1.7 billion. Even with these two contracts, the value in July is still 13% lower than the monthly average of £6.2 billion between July 2019 and March 2020. Excluding these two contracts, almost half of all the contracts awarded were housing projects (180 projects with a combined value of £1.7 billion). There were then 38 office projects worth £554 million and 23 health and welfare projects with a total value of £333 million.
There was a modest increase of 15% in the number of tender opportunities, up from 303 in June to in 349 in July. However, this is still 49% below the monthly average of 682 projects available for tender between July 2019 and March 2020 and 60% lower than July 2019.
At present, there are just 162 tender opportunities available until the end of October 2020, according to Builders’ Conference.
FASET (Fall Arrest Safety Equipment Training) is the not-for-profit organisation that promotes safety within the construction and FM sectors through training and guidance for its members. The ‘new normal’ has brought a wave of new challenges as well as opportunities and FASET exists to give its support individuals and organisations.