Glenigan expects the poor level of project starts experienced during the first quarter to persist over the next three months in the East Midlands
The East Midlands region initially bucked the national trend, with construction starts rising early in 2008, but Glenigan analysis forecasts a further sharp downturn in the flow of new projects during the first half of 2009, with the region stabilising during the latter stages of the year.
The value of underlying construction starts in the office and private housing sectors continues to fall in the region and Glenigan does not see any prospect of a recovery in either sector over the medium term. Industrial construction has also weakened, with the value of underlying projects starting on site falling by 25 per cent last year, while starts during the first quarter of 2009 were 18 per cent down on a year ago.
Underlying planning approvals have contracted sharply with, on average, only 28 projects receiving planning approval per month during the three months to February. This compares with a monthly average of 64 projects during 2007.
Glenigan expects the poor level of project starts experienced during the first quarter to persist over the next three months. While the value of underlying construction starts should improve modestly as the year progresses, it is forecast to finish the year 18 per cent lower than 2008 levels. Looking further forward, we estimate that underlying construction starts will bounce back strongly in 2010.
The value of underlying private housing starts has fallen dramatically in recent months. We expect this trend to continue. During the three months to February 2009 the value of underlying planning approvals for private housing was 70 per cent down on a year earlier. The dramatic decline in the value of underlying planning approvals will depress the flow of project starts in the short term.
The reduced flow of projects securing planning approval and the significant number of schemes that have been put on hold over the last year, will depress the value of underlying construction starts during 2009 and cast a shadow over the level of construction output in the region during the current year and into 2010.
Glenigan estimates that the weakness in private housing and in other sectors will lead to a decline in the value of underlying construction starts of 23 per cent year-on-year during the second quarter of 2009. The flow of new project starts is expected to subsequently stabilise during the second half of the year.
The East Midlands does not appear to have many large projects in the pre-construction pipeline. An exception is the proposed £900 million regeneration scheme for Nottingham. The scheme would provide a significant boost to the region’s construction activity, provided it starts on site in 2009 as planned. However, the absence of other large schemes will make it difficult for many of the medium- to large-sized contractors working in the region.
Project focus: Express Transit Scheme (Light Rail)
Client: Nottingham City Council (contact Christopher Deas, NET Phase Two Project Director 0115 915 5555)
Vital statistics: The project is worth £578 million and is expected to start in October 2010 and last for 36 months
What’s happening: A Prior Information Notice was been published in the Official Journal of the European Union in February. The Nottingham tram system extension has been granted approval for funding up to £437 million in PFI credits towards the £578 million scheme.
Consulting engineer: Mott Macdonald (David Wright, Contracts Manager , 0161 926 4000)
Details: The Nottingham Express Transit (NET) line 3 will link Nottingham city centre with Chilwell via Beeston. The 9.8km route from Nottingham Station (where the new line will link with Line 1) will stop at 15 stops and terminate at a new Park and Ride facility at Toton Lane / Stapleford Lane, just beyond Chilwell. The works will include construction of a new bridge over the A52 and one at Lenton Lane over the railway line.