UK construction orders slump 14%

UK Construction News 2010:

Outlook grim for construction sector after orders for private and public housing fell by almost 25% in second quarter of year.

Britain’s construction industry seems set for a bleak future after orders suffered a 14% fall between April and June.

The only area that recorded any growth in new orders was the private industrial sector, while orders for private and public housing plummeted by 24% and 23% respectively, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Infrastructure orders such as roadbuilding were down 22%, the biggest fall since 2004.

The latest construction survey from Markit/Chartered Institute for Purchasing and Supply was equally gloomy, showing growth slowing sharply in August, with housebuilding in decline.

The figures come after construction output soared 8.5% in the second quarter, the best performance since 1982. But that is unlikely to be sustained as public spending cuts are expected to hit the sector hard. Several building projects have already been put on hold or scrapped since the election.

Noble Francis, economics director at the Construction Products Association, said: “Today’s figures clearly highlight that the increase in construction output during the second quarter does not represent a sustained recovery.”

Alasdair Reisner, industry affairs director at the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, added: “This is a reality check for the industry. It’s pretty grim out there.”

Although the ONS stresses that the figures can be volatile, construction orders had held above £13bn for the previous three quarters before the sudden plunge to £11.6bn.

Information soruce :

Lawyer plugs into Sharp Project – Manchester

The Sharp Project, Manchester City Council’s 200,000 sq ft not-for-profit media and creative industries centre, has attracted a Newcastle-based law firm to take space.

Ward Hadaway will initially base two people from its creative industries team at the building in East Manchester.

Laura Harper, partner, will work alongside a solicitor at Sharp Project and has taken occupation already. She said: “Moving here is a great opportunity for our creative industries team to be in on the ground and right in the heart of the action as the Sharp Project develops.

“We pride ourselves on delivering a legal service which really talks the language of the creative community and addresses the issues which matter most to them. Being here gives us an excellent chance to be able to demonstrate that.

Ward Hadaway, which also has an office in Leeds, works with technology companies, games developers, artists, advertising and design agencies, film companies, musicians and producers.

Sue Woodward, project director for the Sharp Project, said: “We are creating our very own eco-system of companies here so each can support each other and grow.

“To have a specialist law firm with an excellent track record in the media and creative sector located here is a massive asset and a real plus for our tenants.”

The Sharp Project is located at the former Sharp warehouse on Thorp Road, off Oldham Road and next to Central Park’s Gateway transport interchange.

It is being refurbished at a cost of £16.5m, funded by Manchester City Council, the North West Development Agency and the European Regional Development Fund. Phase one of the project was completed in April and 25 companies have taken space.