South West construction market buoyed by wave of inquiries

The South West construction market has been buoyed by a wave of new enquiries and projects starts according to a new report.

The data comes from construction market intelligence from property management consultant Rider Levett Bucknall.

According to the findings there has a noticeable increase in enquiries about infrastructure and data centre projects across the region.

The RLB team, which is based at Broad Quay, Bristol, anticipates that tender returns in the region will begin to rise in the short term due to materials and wages growth.

In the longer-term, prices are expected to stabilise subject to the national political landscape after the next general election.

 While energy prices have started to drop and are predicted to fall by more than ten per cent in the coming months and material prices have levelled among most elements, the cost of insulation – cladding and ceramic tiling – has risen steeply and this may affect the viability of external facade works programmes for local authorities.

Specialist wages are likely in the region to rise over the coming months due to the strong pipeline of work in the region. The finishing trades are already beginning to pass on staff wage increases.

Several large projects have been given the green light. Jaguar Land Rover has confirmed it will invest £4bn into building the UK’s biggest electric vehicle battery factory at Bridgwater.

The development is expected to encourage further investment, which could lead to a spike in wage demands from specialist contractors across the region, causing build costs to rise.

While enquiries generally continue to be strong, projects are being held up by low resource levels within local authorities, causing a slowdown in projects starting on site.

Clients are aware of the issues facing the local market, however, and are still positive about bringing projects to site and factoring longer lead-in time into programmes.

The government has placed Bristol City Council’s planning department “under designation”, meaning developers planning a residential development of between one and nine dwellings, or a development where the floorspace is less than 1,000 sq m, can bypass the council and apply direct to the national Planning Inspectorate for permission.