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Commercial & Retail Contract values decrease in May

The commercial and retail section of the construction industry took a hit in May as the total value of contracts fell month on month and also showed a lower figure than the same month from a year earlier in 2014.

The figures from construction data specialists Barbour ABI show total contracts in May fell by 17.2% from April and were down 33.3% from the figure recorded in May 2014. The total contract values awarded in the commercial & retail sector in May peaked at £605 million on a three month rolling average.

The May figures form part of an overall longer term decrease in the sector with the value of contracts in the three months to May down by 14.1% on the previous 3 months. That figure also marks a 12.3% fall from the same period in 2014.

The South East was the strongest location for commercial and retail activity with 30.6% of the total value of all contracts awarded in the region. This indicates a 28% increase on the figures from a year earlier in May 2014.

London in particular attracted a large share of the total contract value with 19.4% of contracts awarded in May coming in the capital city. However this figure still shows a 34% decrease from May 2014, and continues with the trend of a long term slow down in the commercial and retail sector.

The South West, The West Midlands and Wales all recorded positive figures in the sector in May 2015 when compared with a year earlier in May 2014. The South West gained 8.0%, while the West Midlands saw an increase of 6.5%. Contracts awarded in Wales were also up by 4.2%.

Regions not fairing as well include Yorkshire and the Humber, Scotland and the North East. Yorkshire has been hit with a year-on-year decrease of 12.3%, while total contract values in Scotland and the North East fell by 0.7% and 0.8% respectively.

Specialists in Construction Insurance

Large developments such as a new Sainsbury's supermarket and hotel in Redhill worth £25 million were major contributing factors to the strong performance of the South East in May, but the most prevalent type of commercial and retail project in the sector came in the form of offices.

Offices accounted for 62% of the value of contracts awarded in May, a total that is 6% higher than that recorded in May 2014.

The other significant contributing type of project for the sector was General retailing which accounted for 15% of the total contract award value. This figure still shows a 21% decrease from those recorded in May 2014.

Retail Warehouse & Garden Centres formed 9% of the total construction contracts in the sector in May, while food retailing took a 11% share. Shopping centres took the smallest amount of the total figure with 3%.

From June 2014 – May 2015 Mace Contractors were the leading performers in the sector with a total of 25 contracts awarded totalling a figure of £921 million. Key architects in the sector included Building Design Partnership who were awarded 13 contracts between June 2014 – May 2015 worth a total of £774 million.

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