Scotland earns top marks for education construction projects

Tom Hall

THE latest Super Sectors report from Barbour ABI, the construction industry intelligence provider, shows that Scotland is currently top of the class when it comes to education construction projects.

The report is a monthly examination of planning application approvals and contract awards by sector and region across the UK.

The February edition has just been launched and indicates some interesting trends in the construction industry in Scotland.

The education construction sector north of the border delivered £127 million of contracts awarded and £106 million of planning applications approved. These figures place Scotland top of contract awards and second in terms of the value of planning applications approved for the whole of the UK for the education sector.

Scotland also topped the Barbour ABI Super Sectors report for the value of planning applications approved in the hotel, leisure & sport construction sector. In Scotland projects valued at £92 million were given the green light.

Infrastructure construction in Scotland is also looking positive with the move to renewable energy sources fuelling much of the demand. Scotland ranked second in the UK for both contract awards (£182m) and planning approvals (£673m).

In the residential sector, Scotland was middle of the table for contracts awards (£179m) but shot up to third place in terms of planning approvals, with £475 million of projects ready to break ground.

By contrast, Scotland is lagging behind the UK average for industrial, commercial & retail, and medical construction.

Tom Hall, chief economist at Barbour ABI, said, “The construction industry in Scotland is looking in good shape for the short-to-medium term with the value of planning applications approved being more than the value of contracts awarded in almost every industry sector. This indicates a very buoyant industry with a positive pipeline of opportunities.

“While it is encouraging to see that education, residential and hospitality sectors are recording strong numbers, it is a slight concern that the medical and commercial & retail development opportunities are not keeping pace. Health is a devolved issue and so one of the reasons for a difference in investment in healthcare infrastructure in Scotland could be political.”