This month

5 The number of firms in the running to oversee Network Rail’s £3bn contribution to the Crossrail project. Balfour Beatty, Bechtel, Mace, Atkins and Bovis met with the rail operator last month to discuss the contract, which would include signalling and tunnelling.

7 The percentage that construction output will drop in 2009 to £77.7bn, according to figures from economic consultant Experian. The plunge was mostly blamed on the collapse in housing and commercial markets.

18 The number of major school building projects that may be put on hold in 2009 due to funding problems. So warned Graham Watts, chief executive of the Construction Industry Council.

60 The number of days Marks & Spencer is currently taking to pay contractors after the tough industry climate forced the retailer to lengthen its payment period from the industry benchmark of 30 days. Tesco also said it would slash its suppliers’ fees by up to 50%.

250 The height in metres of the tallest of three skyscrapers planned for a site close to the Shard in London Bridge. Developer Sellar Property Group, London Mayor Boris Johnson and architects Herzog and de Meuron met last month to discuss plans for the glazed towers, which are primarily residential.

700 The number of jobs likely to be cut at Buro Happold and Faber Maunsell as the credit crunch continues its assault on the consulting engineering sector. Faber is thought to be axing 500 employees, or 16% of its UK workforce, and Buro Happold about 200.