A year-on-year fall of 43% in contractors' work won deepens market fears.
March continued the bleak trend of January and February as contractors’ workload dropped for the third month running.

The £461m of orders placed was poor compared with the £806m placed in March last year. In January of this year, £758m of orders were placed, compared with £1.3bn in 1998, and February’s figure of £678m was £359m down on the previous year.

Some executives say the market is still good and blame the pessimistic mood on the media talking it down. The reality, however, is that firms are struggling, with big jobs thin on the ground. Still, all is not lost, and the Glenigan figures suggest that this year might settle down into a pattern more like 1995 or 1996.

It is also possible that the market will pick up as projects delayed last autumn, when recession fears were at their peak, are revived.

How the tables work

To qualify for the tables, companies must have been identified on two or more projects fitting the criteria below in the past 12 months. Projects must:
  • be of precisely calculated or confirmed value
  • have reached the main contract stage
  • be valued at £1m or more
  • be in the UK. Residential, civil engineering or overseas contracts are excluded. Student accommodation is included.