19 Jan 2023 By Contributor
In the three months to December, underlying project-starts increased on the previous year but fell against the preceding quarter. Main contract awards and detailed planning approvals both fell compared to the previous year.
Adding up to £1.011bn, education work starting on-site during Q4 2022 fell 22 per cent against the preceding quarter to stand 1 per cent lower than a year ago. No major (£100m or more in value) projects commenced on-site during the quarter, remaining unchanged on the preceding quarter but in contrast to the previous year. Underlying (less than £100m in value) project-starts fell 2 per cent against the preceding quarter on a seasonally adjusted (SA) basis but climbed 16 per cent on a year ago.
Education main contract awards increased 14 per cent against the preceding quarter to total £928m. Despite this, the value remained 28 per cent lower than the previous year. Underlying contract awards, at £759m, performed poorly, having fallen 12 per cent (SA) against the preceding quarter to stand 41 per cent down on the previous year. In contrast, major project contract awards totalled £169m and were up on both the preceding quarter and previous year when no major projects reached the contract awarded stage.
Education detailed planning approvals added up to £852m, a 30 per cent fall against the preceding quarter to stand 21 per cent down on a year ago. No major projects were granted approval during the quarter, in contrast to both the previous year and preceding quarter. Underlying approvals fell 22 per cent (SA) against the preceding quarter and 13 per cent against the previous year.
Schools dominated the sector during Q4 2022, with the value of work starting on-site accounting for more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of the sector. School construction-starts increased 47 per cent against the previous year to total £775m.
In contrast, university project-starts fell 77 per cent against the previous year to total £69m, a 7 per cent share of the sector. College project-starts accounted for 9 per cent of the sector, having fallen 31 per cent against the previous year to total £105m.
Wales accounted for 17 per cent of education work starting on-site during Q4 2022, experiencing 558 per cent growth compared with the previous year, to total £176m. Growth was largely due to the commencement of the £65m Mynydd Isa Campus in Clwyd. Northern Ireland, where education construction-starts totalled £80m, experienced the greatest growth compared with a year ago of any area of the UK (+1443 per cent). Northern Ireland accounted for 8 per cent of the sector, being boosted by the start of the £33m Down High School development.
Project-starts also advanced strongly in the East of England (+106 per cent), East Midlands (+163 per cent) and the West Midlands (+185 per cent) compared with the previous year to total £118m, £78m, and £65m, respectively. In contrast, education work starting on-site in London fell by more than three-quarters (-76 per cent) against the previous year to total £36m. The performance in the Capital largely influenced the overall decline in education project-starts. The South East (-57 per cent) and Yorkshire & the Humber (-58 per cent) also suffered heavy declines in education-starts compared with 2021 levels to total £150m and £23m, respectively.
Regional performance in education detailed planning approvals was mixed. Four areas experienced growth, including Scotland where the value increased 63 per cent against the previous year to total £193m. Scotland accounted for the greatest share (23 per cent) of education approvals during Q4 2022, with the approval of the £60m East End Community Campus in Dundee providing a great boost. Yorkshire & the Humber experienced even greater growth (+87 per cent) against the previous year to total £127m to account for 15 per cent of the total value.
Education approvals in the East of England advanced 44 per cent compared with 2021 levels to total £131m, a 15 per cent share of the total value. Wales (+33 per cent) also performed well against the previous year to total £49m. Most other regions experienced sharp falls, including London where the value fell 51 per cent against the previous year to total £50m. The South West (-76 per cent) and Northern Ireland (-76 per cent) experienced the poorest period for education approvals compared with a year ago to total £41m and £10m, respectively.
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