Industry specialist, Glenigan, predicts a bumper year for logistics and civil engineering sectors of construction.
Following on from publication of the Construction Forecast for 2020-2021, The Times annual survey of economists also supports this prediction, with over half of respondents expecting an increase in business investment following the election.
Glenigan analysis of the development pipeline suggests major warehouse and logistics-related schemes will provide a good source of work for contractors in the English regions in 2020.
In south Yorkshire for example, plans for the new £200M Mulberry Logistics Park Doncaster have recently been recommended for approval. Work on the scheme, which is at the pre-tender stage and will involve five units and over 227,600sq m of new space, is set to start this autumn.
Meanwhile, bills have recently been called on Phase 4 of Peel Logistics’ £69M Gateway 45 scheme in Leeds involving four warehouse units. Work on the project is set to start this summer and continue for 11 months.
ISG Construction has recently been appointed as the main contractor on Goodman Logistics Development’s £37M Medway Commercial Park where work is due to start in the spring and continue for 12 months.
In the civil engineering sector, we are still waiting for details of how the government plans to invest the £100Bn set aside in the Queen’s Speech to ‘transform’ the UK’s infrastructure. The investment plan is expected to be revealed in the new National Infrastructure Strategy, due this spring. It will highlight the government’s aims for extra spending on transport, local growth, decarbonisation and the digital infrastructure.
The extra spending should reinforce the 5% upturn in civil engineering starts which Glenigan is forecasting for 2020; and which follows a 22% increase in 2019.
The government’s focus on spreading growth more evenly across the regions suggests new civil projects in the North – particularly on roads – will be a priority. On this front, some major motorway projects are set to get underway this year including a £312M Highways England scheme to improve the M40/M42 Interchange, north of Birmingham.
Meanwhile, work on Highways England’s £1Bn Northern TransPennine upgrade of the A66 in Cumbria is also set to start in the autumn and should continue for 24 months.
Network Rail also has a busy investment programme which should provide some good opportunities for contractors in the north.
Government investment has been confirmed for the huge £780M power line upgrade for the East Coast Mainline, to be based in Newcastle. It will involve improvements to platforms, tracks, signals and junctions on the electrified route from London to Edinburgh.
Funding has also been made available and advanced work is set to get underway in the spring for a £20M redevelopment of Solihull railway station to accommodate growing passenger numbers.