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Projects starts fall for the second time in three months

A sharp decline in civil engineering project starts drove a 2 per cent overall drop in project starts for the three months to January 2015.

Civil engineering project starts fell 17 per cent year on year in the period, according to data from industry analysts Glenigan.

Residential projects meanwhile grew by just 1 per cent, having been hit by low levels of social housing starts.

Elsewhere, industrial project starts grew 48 per cent over the 12 months between January 2014 and January 2015.

This was driven by 21 industrial projects worth between £20m and £100m starting on site during the course of the year.

The sector also saw a 40 per cent year-on-year rise in planning approvals during the three months to January.

Three commercial sectors all saw growth in the three-months period, with office starts up 2 per cent, retail growing 5 per cent and leisure starts up 10 per cent.

The number of previously stalled projects brought back into developement during 2014 also grew by 13 per cent compared with a year earlier, reaching 1,250.

Commenting on the data, Glenigan economics director Allan Wilén said: “Our latest figures show the challenge the industry faces to keep up with its own momentum.

“At this stage a year ago workloads were expanding at a remarkable rate, with the January 2014 Glenigan Index seeing a record 35 per cent increase in project starts – the peak of a 17-month run of consecutive growth.

“However, this expansion moderated downwards through the end of last year.”

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