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News archive - July 2013

South East tops health construction table

South East tops health construction table

The healthcare construction market saw a turnaround in fortune at the start of 2013, with a significant number of projects starting on site despite the current economic climate.

But experts warn the unexpected boost is unlikely to last and the future looks more challenging.

New data from construction market analyst, Glenigan, shows a marked increase in project starts during the three months to February this year compared with the same period last year.

The 21% rise was down to new-build starts in both the private and public medical sectors.

However, it is not all good news as the data shows that in the three months to January, planning approvals were 28% below the level seen at the same time last year. This means the is not as rich as the market had been hoping.

“Our outlook for the sector remains subdued,” says the Glenigan analysis. “We expected starts to fall below levels seen last year in the coming months.”

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that, having fallen by 36% in 2011, new orders for health-related construction during the first nine months of 2012 were more or less unchanged. Against this weak background, the official data recorded an 8% decline in output as a 17% drop in the value of public sector work was partially offset slightly by a 4% rise in private sector output.

The Glenigan analysis adds: “Our data paints a similar story for the year ahead. Underlying project starts strengthened during the first half of the year due to a temporary boost as work started on a £80m PFI hospital project and a large private sector nursing home. The value of project starts subsequently weakened during the final six months of 2012. Indeed, the value of project starts during the final quarter of 2012 was 12% down on a year earlier. This left the value of project starts for the year as a whole 7% up on 2011.”

The overview includes a breakdown of regional spend since 2010. Areas with the greatest construction activity over the three-year period were the South East (£1billion), London (£674m), the East (£691m), the South West (£838m), the West Midlands (£724m)and the North West (£812m). For the 2013 year to date the highest underlying value of construction projects starting on site was in the North West, with a market worth £206m, closely followed by the South East, with a £205m portfolio of schemes. Northern Ireland has seen the least activity with the value of starts between 2010 and June 2013 at just £202m in all. Scotland had a market worth £540m over the same period, while schemes starting in Wales were worth £529m.

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