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Contract award values just 5% down on 2019

January 2021

The value of all construction contract awards in 2020 was £57.0 billion.  Despite the challenges 2020 brought, this only represents a slight decrease of 4.7% on 2019. Contract award values held steady in 2020, but the number of contract awards declined by just under 16%.

The latest edition of the Economic & Construction Market Review from industry analysts Barbour ABI, highlights levels of construction contract values awarded across Great Britain.  Certain sectors in 2020 experienced strong growth whilst others felt the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The infrastructure sector contract awards in 2020 were valued at £14.5 billion, an increase of 40% on 2019.  A large increase in utilities and civil engineering projects contributed to the total, increasing by 61% and 54% respectively.

The hotel, leisure, and sport sector contract awards for 2020 was £3.1 billion: a decline of 43% compared to 2019.  This was largely due to a fall in arenas and stadia, and audience and exhibition centres, falling by 68% and 63% respectively.

However, most significantly, the medical and healthcare sector saw an increase of 62% in 2020 compared to 2019, with a total value of contract awards at £2.0 billion.

“The total value of contract awards only fell by 5% in 2020, thanks to an extremely strong start to the year and a moderate recovery after the first nationwide lockdown,” comments Tom Hall, Chief Economist at Barbour ABI and AMA Research. 

“It’s a complete turnaround where activity is happening compared to 2019, which was dominated by the residential and leisure sectors.  In 2020 it has been the healthcare and infrastructure sectors that maintained activity.  We expect the same over the first period of 2021, at least until the Covid-19 situation improves and the uncertainty clears.”

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