The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Reality Has Bitten For Construction Industry, Says Builders’ Conference

Reality Has Bitten For Construction Industry
03 June 2020

Builders’ Conference, an independent trade body, has published a review and commentary on the effect of COVID-19 on construction contract awards.  

CEO Neil Edwards has described how he feels “reality has bitten” for the industry throughout May, after an initial two months of unprecedented levels of new contract awards.

£7.8 billion and £9.7 billion of new contract awards were achieved in March and April respectively. However, May’s figures end with just £3.9 billion.

Edwards describes the dramatic change: “The hope, for now at least, is that UK construction companies will have taken the time to repair the proverbial roof while the sun was shining. The dark clouds have gathered, and a storm looks to be approaching.”

Builders' Conference is a not for profit trade body providing members and the construction industry with sales leads, market intelligence and statistical data.


May’s 2020 contract awards data


The UK construction industry has grown accustomed to a monthly norm of around £4 billion of new contract awards. 

However, May’s figures demonstrate a stark downturn:


  • Balfour Beatty achieved £394.1 million of new orders – including a £350 million refurbishment and repair contract for Highways England as part of the A63 Castle Street improvement programme in Hull
  • Berkley Group had six new contract awards – The largest of these is a £120 million new build contract for 756 riverside dwellings at Huntley Wharf in Reading
  • A Costain Jacobs joint venture partnership won a £183 million refurbishment and repair contract with Highways England at the A1 in Scotswood, Newcastle upon Tyne.
  • CG Fry achieved £149 of new awards. The largest of these is an £80 million mixed-use development in Shepton Mallet that comprises 600 dwellings, a care home and a primary school


In all, ten companies secured more than £100 million of new contract awards during the month. Kier Group, who reportedly has a reputation for winning a new contract for each working day each month, picked up just 16 in May. Just 232 companies reported new work compared to the 350 to 400 that has become the established norm.


“The hope, for now at least, is that UK construction companies will have taken the time to repair the proverbial roof while the sun was shining. The dark clouds have gathered, and a storm looks to be approaching.”

–Neil Edwards

CEO, Builders’ Conference

With 171 contracts worth a combined £1.8 billion, housing accounted for almost half the monthly total of all work; while roads a subsection of infrastructure contributed almost £900 million.


London and Yorkshire top regions


With 61 new contracts valued at £596 million, London achieved the top spot in the regional run down. However, with more than half a billion pounds in new contract awards, Yorkshire came a close second.

Picture: A photograph of an architectural drawing

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 03 June 2020


Related Articles

Coronavirus Impact Pushes United Capital’s Acquisition Pipeline Beyond £350Million

United Capital has announced that its acquisition pipeline has surpassed £350million in revenue terms, as more business owners seek an exit strategy in...

 Read Full Article
Confusion over “essential workplaces” for FMs

Last night (23 March), Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a series of new restrictions to fight the Coronavirus outbreak. But this has left the facilities management...

 Read Full Article
University Researches AI Surveillance for Social Distancing Monitoring 

Researchers at Griffith University, Australia, have developed an AI video surveillance system to detect social distancing breaches in an airport without compromising...

 Read Full Article
BESA Highlights Shortcomings of Government IAQ Report

A report commissioned by the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has highlighted the crucial role played by building ventilation in...

 Read Full Article
University Spin-Out Launches Pathogen Capturing Technology

Working in conjunction with the Defence Forces Ireland and the Czech University of Defence, an Irish medical technology company has developed an innovative Pathogen...

 Read Full Article
Freedom Day – How Do You Feel About Returning to The Office?

For some, Freedom Day marks a much-awaited return to some of our pre-pandemic habits, including working at the office instead of at home. But is everyone keen to come...

 Read Full Article
UK Workers Unsure on Returning to Office Without Vaccine

Around half of UK office workers feel confident about returning to work without a fully vaccinated workplace. Research shows that 80 per cent of UK office...

 Read Full Article
Editorial Review | Managing Stress in the Workplace

In March's FM review, ThisWeekinFM's Editorial Team reflects on the past year, exploring how people have been feeling in the past few months and considering...

 Read Full Article
7 Ways to Improve Office Hygiene and Cleanliness 

With businesses already putting plans in place to get people back into the office, ensuring good hygiene practices is paramount in preventing any spread of coronavirus in...

 Read Full Article
Public Health to be Transformed With Formation of Two New Bodies

The Health Estates and Facilities Management Association is encouraging feedback on a recent proposal to overhaul England’s public health with the formation of two...

 Read Full Article