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Utilities boost project starts by 6 pc, says Glenigan

A surge in utilities has helped the value of project starts increase by 6 per cent year on year, according to the latest research from Glenigan.

Latest data from the industry experts shows growth in utilities, industrial, office, private and social housing project starts.

The most significant increase was in the utilities sector, which grew by 24 per cent, with several renewable energy projects starting on site including a £28m scheme contracted to Solarbright to install photovoltaic panels for 2,000 council owned housing properties and 5 operational properties in Colchester.

And the decline in private housing has bottomed out, with modest growth of 1 per cent for the three months to August.

Economist James Abraham said:  “A poor August 2010 signalled the end of the 2010’s construction recovery. The construction industry has seen a decline in year on year project starts since that time due to public sector cuts and weak private sector investment. While the return to growth is a positive sign, it is modest growth from a low base.”

Mr Abraham said Glenigan recorded a 15 per cent increase in planning approvals for the six months to July, in line with the CBI’s August Industrial Trends survey, which said UK manufacturers are enjoying healthy order books and improving expectations for the future.

He added: “This has fed through to a growth in project starts - 36 per cent over the three months to August compared to a year ago. Though the increase is amplified by the comparison to a poor August 2010, we expect industrial building to remain a growing part of the construction industry over the next few months.

Refurbishment projects, including a £50m project in Kent, continue to drive growth in social housing projects with 11 per cent growth for the three months to August.Glenigan expects new build social housing projects to continue to fall due to Government cuts.

Regionally the South east and South west saw the most significant growth, with the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Wales all seeing annual growth of over 10 per cent. In stark contrast the underlying value of project starts in Scotland fell by nearly a third.

The latest figures come after Glenigan revealed a spike in projects being put on hold.

Click here to see the latest industry data at CNInsight.

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