After a dip in contract awards the sector could recover in 2014

The commercial offices sector has been subdued in most parts of the country over the past few years with the exception of London, where offices work had been relatively consistent until 2012. But as last year progressed it was increasingly apparent that the market was slowing even in central London and contract awards took a large hit over the year. The CPA/Barbour ABI offices index hit a nadir in January, 45% lower than a year earlier. Given the lag between contract awards and activity on the ground this is expected to feed through to output this year so 2013 will be a challenging year for new work in the office sector. But there is hope for a recovery from 2014.

The CPA/Barbour ABI offices index in March rose to 149, which is 17% higher than in February and 28% higher than a year earlier. These contracts should hit the ground over the next few years. Google are set to build a £300m headquarters in Kings Cross and Goldman Sachs are planning a new headquarters in Holborn. Outside London, there are £200m projects in Birmingham and Warrington that will provide work by 2015.