But tender opportunities increasing, Barbour data adds

Covid-19 has caused delays in the planning system with firms reporting difficulties progressing projects through the process.

According to the latest update from Barbour ABI, construction companies are still facing an uphill battle to get schemes through the planning system – because of the availability of local authority staff.


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Getting schemes through planning is taking longer than normal because of the availability of council staff

It said: "[There are] continued difficulties progressing planning applications due to difficulties contacting council staff."

While Barbour also said that both new applications and decision updates have started to strengthen over the past fortnight, it said it was still too early to say whether it is a trend.

The update also revealed tender opportunities have also continued to strengthen – albeit slowly.

In April, they were 40% below pre-crisis levels, moving to 30% below the following month and so far this month remain 20% down.

Contract awards are also on a slow upward path as they are now closer to 50% below pre-crisis levels compared to 60% below across March, April and May.

The update also reiterated findings from the previous reports that firms at the top of the supply chain were squeezing those further down the line.

It said: "Reports of attempts by main contractors to renegotiate contract prices down with sub-contractors [have continued.]

"We have had reports of requests of 7-10% reductions being requested."

Last week a poll of the Building Engineering Services Association's members found that more than one third had either been asked or felt obliged to discount their rates.