The new year saw an encouraging start, with contract awards returning to more acceptable levels after a grim December.
But the totals were still down nearly 10 per cent on 12 months earlier and by almost half on January 2010’s level of £3.7bn.
January 2013 saw £1.9bn of work signed off across 244 contracts, according to construction business research company Glenigan - a vast improvement on a month earlier. Just £1bn of work across 128 contracts was awarded in December 2012, which was itself 50 per cent down on the Dec 2011 total.
There was some encouraging news from the Office for National Statistics this week too, which recorded a 0.4 per cent increase in new construction orders forthe final quarter of 2012.
This led economists to suggest that construction output could recover within 12 to 18 months’ time.
It follows a poor 2012 in which construction output shrank by £8.9bn, although the industry fared better in the final quarter of 2012 than first thought, with the ONS posting an upwards revision for output from 0.3 per cent to 0.9 per cent.
The industry is also rallying to urge chancellor George Osborne for more direct capital investment in his Budget in three weeks’ time. As the effects of the ongoing contraction in public sector spending continue, it was the private sector that provided one of the biggest boosts in January.
Lend Lease took the top spot, driven by a £240 million deal to deliver 3,500 student rooms for private developer Manor Property Group.
The overall student accommodation deal is worth a reported £1.5bn and will see Lend Lease design and build up to 40,000 student accommodation units at 70 locations across England and Scotland.
The first phase includes sites in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and Hull. Morgan Sindall was in second spot in January with a total of 27 projects worth a combined £215.7m.
Student accommodation provided the biggest opportunity for contractors in January. Manor Property Group’s £240m agreement with Lend Lease to build 3,500 student homes took the developer to the top of the table this month. It has previously partnered with the University of Sheffield to provide 4,000 beds through a combination of new build and refurbishment.
The stalwart clients Network Rail and the Department of Health were in second and third spots respectively.
January was good to Kier again, as it took the third spot on the back of 18 projects valued at £157.9m; Kier was number two in the table in January 2012 and was also top of the pile in December.
Balfour Beatty was in third spot for the month with 14 jobs worth £132.3m, while fifth-placed Willmott Dixon is building a £38m block of flats in the Greenwich Millennium Village for Taylor Wimpey.
EDF Energy is at the top of the clients table due to the £2bn Hinkley Point C contract award to Laing O’Rourke and Bouygues. EDF has awarded just five contracts in 12 months, according to Glenigan, with questions remaining over the work at Hinkley as Kier and Bam await the go-ahead for the earthworks contract they won last year.
The industry is looking to the Budget for some more clarity over energy policy. The Department of Health meanwhile has awarded 356 deals in the 12 months to January 2013.
The Greenwich Peninsula is set for a £5bn regeneration, with mayor Boris Johnson saying it will create 4,000 construction jobs; Quintain has now given the green light for 500 homes as part of the masterplan.
Willmott Dixon is also carrying out a £36m office redevelopment on Canal Street in Nottingham for Nottingham One Developments.
There is no change in the top three contractors in the annual table. Balfour Beatty remains at the top of the league table, covering the period from February 2012 to January 2013.
Balfour Beatty has picked up just under £2.5bn of work across 191 projects, according to Glenigan. Laing O’Rourke has held onto the second spot with just 25 schemes worth a total of £2bn, while Sir Robert McAlpine finds itself in third place thanks to 36 jobs worth £1.9bn.
The Sweett Group took pole position in the quantity surveyor top 10 during January. The company signed off three deals worth £101.1m, according to Glenigan, having reported a record order book just last month.