April 2019 – Demolition & recycling
There’s something funny going on in the UK construction industry. On the one hand, everything is looking a bit downbeat: housing starts are slowing down; Crossrail’s becoming an embarrassment; overall construction activity is cooling off; Interserve has gone into administration. And then, of course, there’s the never-ending Brexit saga.
Our Sector Focus feature this month suggests that, after a couple of years of vigorous growth, demolition specialists have seen workloads level off and profits start to fall.
On the other hand, new work is apparently flooding in at an unprecedented rate. Our Contracts League table shows that almost £6.8bn-worth of new work was let in March while in February the figure was over £9bn.
Compare this with last year, when the monthly tally of new work hovered fairly consistently at just over £4bn.
There are of course a number of reasons why this might be and two of them feature fairly prominently in this issue of the magazine. HS2 is still at an early stage (and, to be fair, is in many ways still not a done deal) but it is already yielding a growing stream of work.
The other major scheme is Hinkley Point C which is now well underway and keeping a growing army of contractors busy.
So are we on the up? Or are we teetering on the edge? The answer probably depends on whether you see the glass half-empty or half-full.