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Construction's Euro vision

Ireland in first place, Poland in second and Portugal in third.

No, it’s not my predictions for who will win Euro 2016, or even who I’m backing for Eurovision this year, but the three fastest-growing construction markets in Europe.

According to forecasts from Euroconstruct shared with Construction News, output in Ireland will grow by 32.5 per cent between 2015 and 2018, while Poland will see output increase by 25.3 per cent.

Seven markets in Europe will see double-digit growth through to 2018, largely those that suffered most during the recession – it’s worth remembering that markets like Spain, Portugal and Ireland saw construction practically grind to a halt after 2008.

The UK construction market is set to grow by 9.1 per cent, placing it in the upper to mid-table positions when Europe’s construction markets are ranked by percentage growth to 2018.

But when these are ranked by actual output growth in volume terms, the UK jumps to second place.

Between 2015 and 2018, UK construction output will rise by €18.4bn, which at today’s exchange rate is around £13.8bn. This growth will be second only to France, which is forecast to grow by €19.5bn over the same period – roughly £14.6bn.

To put that in context, the combined output growth of all of Scandinavia, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Ireland between 2015 and 2018 adds up to €17bn (£12.7bn) – around £1.1bn shy of the UK’s total.

This places the UK firmly in the upper tier of construction performance and means that, over the next three years, it will be one of the strongest performing construction markets in the whole of Europe, ahead of traditional frontrunners such as Germany.

No doubt China’s recent economic troubles and ongoing rumblings of discontent within the eurozone are playing on the minds of business leaders, however.

Continuing cost increases in construction, especially in the capital, may prove to be a stumbling block for major projects throughout the year. And, of course, there’s the looming EU referendum to contend with.

But these forecasts show that the UK is still performing well ahead of its European rivals, meaning that investors will still see it as a hotspot for the industry over the next three years.

What’s more, much of that demand has been domestically driven, and with Chinese investors showing even more appetite for the UK market, construction looks well set to withstand any potential ill-effects of Brexit, should it happen.

At the very least, it appears the UK is not doomed to a quarter-final exit on penalties in this particular European competition.

Get the full analysis, including a breakdown of how each country will perform, here.

In brief

US firm Cathexis is extending its offer on ISG for two weeks, with the contractor urging shareholders to ”continue to take no action” and ”ignore” the offer.

What do we want? Work. When do we want it? At specific times as indicated by Highways England and approved by the ORR.

Argent has today confirmed its replacements for some big name partners who departed late last year.

And finally, DCLG wants contractors ‘like Wates and Laing O’Rourke’ to solve the housing crisis. 

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