New orders and output rise again in May's construction PMI survey
New construction orders increased at the fastest rate since the survey began in April 1997 according to May’s IHS Markit/CIPS UK construction PMI. The total activity index rose to 64.2 in May (from 61.6 in April), indicating that the construction sector remains on a strong recovery path.
NHS Estates: Cost Modelling for Operational Net Zero
The built environment contributes around 40% of the UK's total carbon footprint. It is therefore recognised that significant and collaborative changes to the design and operation of buildings are required if the 2050 net zero carbon emissions target set by the UK Government is to be achieved.
Market Update - May 2021
G&T's Market Update for May 2021 provides an overview of the UK construction market. Against a backdrop of ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and new Brexit trading rules, our latest report highlights changes to key macro-economic indicators over the reporting period as well as construction-specific metrics such as the UK Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), construction output, new orders and key material costs.
Tender price indicator
Our Tender Price Inflation report looks at the movement of prices in tenders for building contracts in the UK. The report examines a number of contributing factors and is further informed by our market survey responses and contractor consultations. Supply and demand shocks driven by policy rather than normal market forces have provided a breeding ground for a split sector-specific recovery in 2021 and beyond. With the prospect of broad inflationary pressures on the horizon, will construction tender prices follow suit?
Output and new orders edge higher in Q1 but price pressures mount
Deloitte’s latest London Office Crane Survey reveals construction starts rose 20% but most starts involve upgrading existing office stock, former NBS boss casts doubt on whether new post-Brexit certification rules will be ready in time, RIBA Future Trends Index show architectural practices remain upbeat on workloads, ISG report finds that UK’s built environment will need to reduce energy consumption by 80% to meet 2050 net-zero carbon targets
Industrial and Logistics: The Race for Space
With the global pandemic creating an e-commerce boom, the industrial and logistics sector is looking at how it can address the surge in demand for space. Amazon’s recently announced plans to open more warehouses and delivery bases in the north and south of England is evidence that the pandemic has accelerated the transition from physical to online shopping.
Mass Timber Commercial Developments – What do you need to know?
There has been a significant increase in interest for using mass timber within construction projects across the UK over the last few years. A combination of the UK Government’s net zero 2050 target, growing concern about the global climate crisis and people’s attitudes towards the spaces they live and work in has created a substantial shift in demand.
Low Carbon Buildings: G&T’s Observations
Based on our own observations there are an increasing number of alternatives to traditional cement and concrete. For example, blended cements and concretes that store carbon and are made from entirely different materials such as wood, hempcrete, straw bales and mycelium.
Key Design Considerations for Building with Mass Timber
After having heard from many core stakeholder disciplines in previous forums, the ninth and final session in G&T’s Mass Timber Forum was on the subject of architecture and design. The panel comprised six architects from various internationally-renowned architectural practices – all of which are well-informed and passionate about mass timber commercial office projects.
Managing Low Carbon Design in Commercial Buildings
Over the last two years we have seen an increasing recognition of the climate crisis as a fundamental briefing issue for a number of clients who now identify the net zero/low carbon agenda as an opportunity to positively contribute to the identity of their building and provide a point of differentiation relative to other competing developments.
Optimism grows over future workloads: RIBA Future Trends Workload Index highest since May 2016
UK construction job vacancies are now 7.7% higher than they were one year a go thanks to rise in new project starts, "Evidence-based metrics" needed to measure progress on net zero carbon according to construction minister, NLA Tall Buildings Survey finds that planning applications for tall buildings in London fell by nearly one-third last year, CPA predicting output growth of 12.9% in 2021 but commercial activity is expected to be muted, City of London Corporation plans to convert vacant offices into new residential units under its five-year recovery strategy
NextGen Spotlight: LREF Investment Summit
Through G&T's partnership with New London Architecture (NLA) and as part of the recent Investment Summit held in the build up to the 2021 London Real Estate Forum (LREF), we invited NextGen members to give their insights on key market trends discussed by industry leaders at the summit.
Reviewing the UK Green Building Council’s (UKGBC) report: Building the Case for Net Zero
In order for the UK to meet its climate change targets by 2050, all new buildings must operate at net zero by 2030 which, according to the UKGBC means that all new buildings will have to be designed to meet the target of net zero operational energy by 2025. In the second in our series of articles on low carbon buildings, we look at the UKGBC’s “Building the Case for Net Zero” report and ask if net zero carbon really is obtainable in construction by 2050.
Leasing and Sales of Mass Timber Offices
The eighth session in G&T’s Mass Timber Forum was on the subject of sales and leasing. The panel was made up of four panellists including a mix of experienced commercial agents and representatives from large development organisations. Our panellists were able to provide their thoughts on emerging trends in terms of what tenants are looking for when considering commercial office space and what draws them to space that is partially or predominantly constructed from mass timber.
Super Deductions - Update
Since the announcement of Super Deductions (130% for main pool plant & machinery and 50% for special rate pool plant & machinery) in the Budget there has been some uncertainty regarding the extent to which these would be available to property investors.
January's resilient output figures indicate the sector's recovery is back on track and investor confidence is returning
BEIS launches two new sustainability-focused consultations for non-residential buildings, recovery, transformation and building trust: CLC sets core priorities for 2021 and beyond, MIPIM: speakers suggest overhaul in post-pandemic office requirements could yield opportunities for redeveloping and reimagining workplaces and urban spaces, New Building Safety Regulator begins recruitment drive for 700 staff to help oversee safety of tall residential buildings
Are Net Zero Embodied Carbon Targets Really Attainable in Construction?
As the construction industry makes the transition towards net zero carbon emissions, there is a growing body of guidance and performance targets to help improve the sector’s collective understanding on how to design and deliver low carbon buildings. The industry is becoming increasingly aware of the level of building performance that will be required to achieve a net zero carbon outcome.
Structure, MEP and Acoustics: What are the considerations when building with mass timber?
In the seventh panel discussion of the series, G&T discussed the considerations for engineering a mass timber office building and what impact using mass timber could have on the acoustics and MEP.
UK construction PMI sees solid return to growth in February after a setback at the start of 2021
UK construction PMI sees solid return to growth in February after a setback at the start of 2021, CLC to publish performance data showing net zero carbon progress, G&T market analysis indicates fairly healthy project pipeline among UK’s biggest main contractors, little emphasis on green policies as Chancellor made key announcements in Budget 2021, Timber Trade Federation: timber firms experiencing logistical difficulties and inflated costs amid record demand
The Capacity and Supply Chain of the Mass Timber Industry
G&T hosted a discussion on the capacity of the market as part of the ongoing mass timber office series that brings together experts to discuss and debate barriers to the uptake of mass timber in commercial office construction.
Hitting the NHS Capital Departmental Expenditure Limit (CDEL)
NHS Estates and Capital Project Departments have never been under so much pressure. Since March 2020, the Government’s response to COVID-19 has included substantial Capital spending. Trusts have been faced with creating additional bed capacity, increasing Critical Care capacity, repurposing Operating Theatres and upgrading infrastructure to support site wide extended medical gas provision or similar.
Construction helps UK economy avoid a double-dip recession
Government open to possibility of reviewing current immigration policy for construction workers, RIBA Survey: London posts positive workload index for the first time since lockdown 1, construction new order figures in Q4 2020 paint a strong picture of winners and losers on a sector-by-sector basis, contractors cut the time they are prepared to honour fixed-price contracts according to RLB survey, commodities “supercycle” fuelling above-trend price rises as demand for copper streaks ahead of constrained supply and production capacity.
Market Update Webinar - February 2021
This market update webinar includes the latest market views, an overview of G&T's Tender Price forecast for Q1 2021, as well as an expert panel discussion on the likely impacts of the Brexit deal. Speakers included G&T partners James Angus, Rachel Collins, Will Galley, Kerry Gibbs, Gavin Murgatroyd, Nick Rowe and Rob Webber.
CPA forecasts a 14% rise in construction output in 2021 on the back of vaccine rollout
CPA forecasts a 14% rise in construction output in 2021 on the back of vaccine rollout, ONS: 93% of construction firms not experiencing import challenges – a stark contrast to UK manufacturing firms, IHS Markit: construction activity dipped for the first time in seven months in January 2021 as output fell and new order growth subsided, public Accounts Committee highlights risk that tax payers won’t get value for money on £600bn infrastructure pipeline, Sadiq Khan adopts a much-altered London Plan four years after starting work on it, Construction material prices continue to rise due to higher raw material costs and an ongoing supply/ demand imbalance
Brexit: Changes for UK Construction
To the relief of many working in the UK construction sector, the UK signed an historic Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) with the EU on 30th December 2020. The TCA ensures tariff-free trade between the UK and European trading block, but construction will have to come to terms with a host of new rules and regulations that will impact the procurement and delivery of projects.
Market Update - February 2021
G&T’s Market Update for February 2021 provides an overview of the UK construction market. Against a backdrop of ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and new Brexit trading rules, our latest report highlights changes to key macro-economic indicators over the reporting period, as well as construction-specific metrics such as the UK Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), construction output, new orders and key material costs. We also outline our latest trade package and tender price inflation forecasts based on our quarterly surveys and regular discussions with the supply chain.
Mass Timber in Office Construction: Does it impact the cost and programme of your project?
In the fifth session hosted by G&T as part of the ongoing Mass Timber Office series the panel of experts focussed on what implications using mass timber for office construction may have on a project’s cost, programme and the procurement approach, from the design phase right through to construction.
Targeted Property Investment: We Have the Framework...Let’s Use It!
In this short article, G&T’s Construction & Property Tax Advisory team ask the UK government to start incentivising business to help drive positive growth and good sustainability credentials.
Decarbonising Transport: Retail in the Automotive Sector
The fourth in our electric vehicles series, this report looks at retail within the automotive industry.
SMART and Sustainable Hospitals
‘Smart’ hospitals can capture everyday data to radically re-engineer our approach to healthcare. Enabled by an underlying network of interconnected digital assets, they are able to optimise, redesign and create new clinical processes, management systems and infrastructure. Smart hospitals are also able to provide services and insights which help improve patient care, patient experience and operational efficiency.
Repurposing Retail: Bringing Empty Department Stores Back to Life
Retail is changing. Hastened by COVID-19, the high street is undergoing one of the largest evolutions it has seen for decades and the department store is no exception. Empty retail space is accelerating at a rapid rate. A recent report from Savills suggested that retail in the UK is over spaced by as much as 40% , begging the question, what can we do with these underutilised assets?
EV Manufacture in the UK
The latest independent outlook for the UK car manufacturing industry predicted that factories will make fewer than 885,000 cars this year — the first time volumes will have dipped below the one million mark since 2009. The one bright spot is EV manufacturing.
UKGBC publishes new strategic guidance to help deliver net zero buildings
ONS: construction input costs rise by 0.5% between March and September but are not fully feeding through into tender pricing, homes England chief says “time for talking is over”. MMC/ prefabrication is essential to deliver the homes of the future, Chancellor’s Spending Review promises to invest in UK infrastructure, increase commitments for housebuilding, deliver on net zero and introduce a new UK infrastructure bank, starts on site in central London fell by 50% between Apr-Sep according to Deloitte’s latest London office crane survey, builders Merchant sales up 8.3% in September compared to the same month in 2019
Architects say workloads are back to around 90% of pre-pandemic levels but say next few months will be critical
Construction output rises for a fifth consecutive month and new order data shows robust increase in new work, Construction PMI: expansion of activity softens in October but construction is still optimistic about its prospects for the next 12 months, private housing sector awarded most new contract awards and granted most planning approvals in October, materials firms note surge in demand before anticipated cost inflation in the coming months, BCSA: public sector spending expected to boost structural steel demand by 12.1% overall in 2021
The Future of Aviation
The aviation sector has been hit hard as a result of the pandemic. Projects and expansion plans have been put on hold, cancelled or deferred for the foreseeable future, and many industry commentators are suggesting that activity in the sector will be negatively impacted for years to come.
CPA upgrades 2020 and 2021 output growth forecasts in latest Autumn scenarios publication
ONS: Revenues remain under pressure with 40% of surveyed construction firms reporting lower than usual turnover, CLC publishes new guidance on immigration and trade post Brexit, more contractors and architects publish net zero carbon targets, construction product sales much higher than expected in Q3, University of Oxford report: “standardised, fast and frugal” infrastructure projects better at stimulating GDP than mega projects
The Impact of Fire When Building with Mass Timber
In G&T’s Mass Timber Office series the latest panel ‘Fire, Testing and Building Control’ examined the impact of fire both pre and post construction and discussed the work currently being carried out by industry stakeholders on the behaviour of mass timber in the event of a fire.
September UK construction PMI beats expectations with rise in new orders
Construction output grew for the fourth consecutive month in August but rate of growth slowed to 3%, UK concrete and cement industry plans to become net carbon negative by 2050, Robert Jenrick: 20% of affordable homes to be built from modern methods of construction, rent collections improve in Q3 but are still putting financial pressure on landlords and developers
Electric Vehicles Infrastructure: Charging Ahead
Developing our own unique approach to everything is part of the UK’s DNA. As such, making the transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to battery electric vehicles (BEV) will inevitably require new ways of doing things, especially if BEVs are going to contribute to the UK Government’s overarching policy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Market Update - October 2020
G&T’s Market Update for October 2020 provides an overview of the London construction market. In light of the disruption caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its impacts on the construction industry, the report highlights changes to key macro-economic indicators over the reporting period, as well as significant construction-specific metrics such as the UK Purchasing Managers’ Index, construction output, commercial and residential new orders, key material costs, trade package inflation and tender price trends and forecasts.
New guidance from Build UK urges firms to make future contracts ‘open book’
Proportion of construction workforce on furlough continues to fall, Mark Farmer suggests Government should embark on a programme to build 75,000 modular homes a year by 2030 to help encourage industry acceptance, ONS: 10% of construction firms at ‘moderate risk’ of insolvency but majority (over 79%) state ‘low’ or ‘no risk’ of insolvency, Multiplex becomes first contractor to sign up to the World Green Building Council’s ‘Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment’.
Climate change is the most pressing environmental challenge of our time. The scientific evidence suggests that we need to take action now, and the UK Government is making this a priority. In June 2019 the UK became the first major global economy to pass a law that requires the country to achieve 'net zero' greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.
Fibre Optic Market
The importance of connectivity has never been more apparent than it is right now. With the UK lagging behind many of its more digitally evolved competitors, Government priority is now focusing on getting fast, secure and resilient broadband across the whole country as soon as possible – aiming to bring “gigabit-capable broadband” nationwide by 2025.
Steady fall in number of firms reporting decreased turnover, compared to same time last year
New report espouses post Covid-19 ‘lessons learned’ review to avoid drifting back to ‘business as usual’, Atkins Global: two-thirds of infrastructure businesses believe workloads won’t return to pre-Covid levels until Q4 2021, CLC launches new taskforce to advise the construction industry on how to prepare for a post-Brexit world, lumber prices hit record high amid surging demand for home improvement and renovation projects plus more news and analysis from across the industry
G&T Launches Mass Timber Forum for Commercial Offices
Hosted by partner Matt Holman, these forums focus on hot topics such as Insurance, Fire and Sustainability. G&T partner and timber expert Oliver Booth has assembled panels of leading experts in their respective disciplines to help share knowledge and information that can be referred to when considering mass timber for commercial office projects.
Draft Building Safety Bill for England
Described by the Housing Secretary as, “the biggest change to our building safety regime for 40 years”, the Government is planning to introduce fundamental changes to the building control regime to improve building and fire safety in higher-risk buildings so that people will be safer in their homes.
UK construction PMI beats expectations in July with a steep increase in activity and output
ONS new order data for Q2 shows that private sector demand was hit the hardest in the quarter, ‘Planning for the Future’ – Government white paper published putting forward vision to radically overhaul England’s planning system, Leo Quinn: “We will not take contracts at any price... We are not interested in volume”, Derwent changes office development model to meet changing work patterns and employee needs plus more news and analysis from around the construction industry.
Industry calls for clarity on border arrangements and changes to worker permits
ONS: Construction firms report that the proportion of furloughed workers continues to fall, CLC letter to Government requests for clarity on border arrangements and changes to worker permits , 59% of construction firms note lower turnover according to ONS survey, RIBA and others voice concerns over the deregulation of the planning process, Wates switches focus to public sector and affordable housing work in the wake of the pandemic.
Future Health of Buildings
COVID-19 has created two new requirements for buildings: 1. owners and occupiers need to provide an objectively safe indoor environment and 2. they must communicate trust and a sense of welcome to those coming through the doors. While both are critical, they do not necessarily align.
The Future Office
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many to rethink their physical office space. In planning a logistically-difficult return to the office, organisations appear to be asking fundamental questions about the future design and purpose of the post-pandemic office. Whilst there are still many unknowns, the current pandemic has fuelled a seismic shift that will alter our perceptions of how and why we use offices and workspaces for years to come.
‘Build, Build, Build’: UK Government announces plans to help construction’s recovery
Cashflow continues to be a pressing issue as nearly 40% of firms said current reserves would last less than three months, June construction PMI data points to sharp turnaround as more sites reopened and the supply chain kicked into gear, Kier likely to tap equity markets to bolster its balance sheet after Covid-19 takes its toll on revenues, TfL issues briefing note to construction firms on how to safely use the capital’s public network
Health and Wellbeing in Schools
How the built environment impacts health and wellbeing represents a critical and growing area of sustainability. We are increasingly aware of the connection between where we are and how we are. It is no surprise that the newest and most popular sustainability certifications for commercial buildings – the WELL Building Standard and Fitwel – focus on the building/body connection.
The Growth Of Healthy Buildings Is Changing How We Manage Them
What makes us healthy? The things we do, the food we eat, the air we breathe? All these elements play a part, but a new factor is being recognised. Click here to read on.
Work resumes on 10% of sites initially suspended at lockdown
RICS: headline workloads fall pointing to virtually no change in activity in Q1 2020, talks between Build UK and Local Government Association to extend permitted site opening hours ongoing, construction machinery equipment makers in China raise prices as sales begin to take off
Minister says construction is an ‘ecosystem’ – the whole supply chain needs to be operational and working collaboratively
Main contractors consider buying up parts of supply chain in order to keep schemes running, more sites re-open but with reduced workforce’, NLA’s annual tall building survey shows 140% year-on-year increase in the number of tall buildings in London
Science, Skills & Innovation
Home to 29 universities, the Powerhouse region has seen significant investment into research and education activities across the scientific sector. Industry and university communities are collaborating to develop new materials technologies and advanced manufacturing methods which will provide huge benefits to the UK economy
BEIS Tells Manufacturing to Keep Supply Chains Moving
Construction output falls 1.7% in February with adverse weather considered a contributing factor, UK Government issues updated guidance reaffirming that sites do not have to close even if they cannot maintain social distancing, CLC urges firms and clients to ‘do the right thing’ to make sure that cash continues to flow throughout the industry, Mace begins progressive re-opening of some suspended construction sites to help support UK economic recovery plus more news and analysis from the construction industry
Contractors restarting work after pause to review and redesign operations at UK sites
Version 2 of CLC’s Site Operating Procedures withdrawn after feedback said updated rules were impossible to follow, contractors such as BAM and Kier restart work after pausing to review and redesign operations at UK sites, BMF tracker shows a number of builders merchants have re-started some services and are at least ‘partially’ open, first stage of work at NHS Nightingale hospital at London’s ExCel Centre completed in just 10 days, plus more news and analysis from the construction industry
The New Normal in Higher Education: The Digital Campus Of The Future
The digital campus is a well-connected one - limiting frictions by using readily available data. Essentially, they can be thought of as mini smart-cities, underpinned by a technologically adept infrastructure.
Are 'All Electric' Buildings The Future?
The UK government has set an ambitious target to reduce carbon emissions by 80% of 1990 levels, by 2025. The use of fossil fuels as the primary source for heating and cooling buildings is a substantial contributor to carbon emissions, and its continued use by the construction industry is likely to impact the UK’s ability to achieve this target.
Construction Collaboration Technology
New technologies and software applications are increasingly being used to facilitate the effective sharing of project-related information between geographically dispersed, multi-disciplinary members of a construction project team. Do these tools offer a route to productivity gains in the construction industry?
The UK’s distilling sector has experienced a boom in terms of growth in the number of distilling enterprises. Although most of this recent growth has been in England, Scottish distilleries remain dominant in terms of revenue-share and employment-size band.
Getting Britain Building
Whilst the effects of COVID-19 had a significant impact on the new Chancellor’s first post Brexit Budget, a common theme remained the levelling up of the UK economy. Here we review some of the more important tax and spending plans that will affect the construction and property sectors.