Eight construction firms go bust a day, architects signing on, adjudications on the rise

Eight construction firms were becoming insolvent a day during the last quarter of 2008, according to new figures from Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

In a report quoted in Building, the firm found that a total 692 firms went bust in the last quarter, up 28% from 540 the previous quarter. This pushed the annual total for 2008 to 2,100 construction insolvencies, a 40% jump on the previous year’s total of 1,500, and the highest number since PwC began tracking these statistics six years ago.

Architects are also being hit hard by the industry slump. New figures from the Office of National Statistics and cited in Building Design show that design professionals are losing jobs at a faster rate than any other occupation. Its data shows that 870 architects claimed jobseekers allowance for the first time in the last quarter of 2008, up from just 135 in the same period the year before, a 544% increase.

The figures put layoffs at architects above town planners, quantity surveyors, chartered surveyors and all other professions in terms of numbers of new claimants.

Contract Journal reports on a forecast from the Construction Skills Network that the construction workforce will not return to 2008 levels until 2013.

Figures from the legal world also point to the increasing impact of the crunch. Building reports that there were 39 formal adjudications in the last quarter of 2008, more than the whole figure for 2007. The Construction Industry Council figures show 11 adjudication appointments in January 2009, the highest ever monthly figure.