Smaller project starts declining at a slower rate than before, according to latest data

A steady decline in new construction work over the last year is starting to level out as the economy continues to stabilise, according to new research.

Data provider Glenigan’s latest construction index for the three months to the end of May found the amount of work starting on site valued at £100m or less was 16% lower than a year ago.


Hotel and Leisure starts were up 39% on the preceding three months

But it also revealed several growing sectors, including hotel and leisure project starts, which rose by 39% over the past three months and were 23% up on the previous year.

Education starts also increased by 14% on 2023 levels and were up 35% on the previous three months, while social housing edged up by 1% over the past three months after a series of consistently poor results.

>> See also: Construction output down as UK falls into recession

Glenigan economist Drilon Baca said construction appeared to returning to a period of “relative stability” but warned about the potential impact of the upcoming 4 July general election.

“Whatever the results it will have a considerable effect on industry behaviour, particularly in the private sector, either prompting a spurt of activity or a resumption of the pausing and delays commonplace over the past 24 months. 

“In the public sphere, much will depend on the policies announced in respective manifestos and what the victorious party, or parties in a hung Parliament, choose to prioritise.”

Less successful sectors included industrial, which was down 29% during the three months to May and 56% down on a year ago, and infrastructure, which saw a 6% decrease on 2023 levels and a 25% drop in the past three months.

Regionally, Yorkshire and the Humber was the most successful with starts up 35% in three months and 34% above the previous year.

London has seen the steepest downturn with starts down 30% in three months and 25% compared to the previous year.

All projects surveyed were underlying schemes with a value of £100m or less.