UK construction outside London shows resilience -Deloitte survey

A general view of the HS2 rail Curzon Street Station construction site in Birmingham
A general view of the HS2 rail Curzon Street Station construction site in Birmingham, Britain, October 3, 2022. REUTERS/Phil Noble

MANCHESTER, England, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Britain's construction industry outside of London held up through 2022 despite rising economic uncertainty, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The Deloitte Regional Crane Survey, which covers Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Belfast, showed 74 new construction projects started across the four cities last year, compared with 72 in 2021.

The volume of office, residential and student housing construction increased on the year, although for the hotels sector it declined by 25%.

"Developer confidence is a key indicator for economic health and, despite many market uncertainties over the last few years, construction in our surveyed UK regional cities remained remarkably resilient," said John Cooper, partner at Deloitte.

He noted that the square footage of offices under construction - while up compared to 2021 - was still short of the five-year average.

"However, we have seen office schemes return to planning as developers respond to the changing demands of occupiers who seek flexibility, high-quality amenities and a workspace that meets sustainable targets," Cooper said.

An S&P Global/CIPS survey of construction companies across Britain published on Monday showed the sector contracted in January, although they turned more optimistic about the outlook for 2023.

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Editing by Josie Kao

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