UK construction and property
- Nuclear | The government announced plans for a third gigawatt-scale nuclear power station project, with a Civil Nuclear Roadmap to increase power generation by up to four times by 2050. At the same time, EDF outlined plans to extend the lives of its nuclear power stations in the UK, running Sizewell B for an additional 20 years.
- Debt worries | A study by Bayes Business School suggests that 40% of outstanding UK commercial property loans are due to mature in 2024 and 2025. Increased debt costs will make refinancing a challenge.
- Energy inefficiency | Research from CBRE shows that up to 11.9m sqft of office space with an EPC of C is expected to be released onto the market by the end of 2027 due to the expiry of large leases.
- Pothole hopes | The AA estimates that potholes have caused £500m damage to cars, with almost 630,000 potholes reported to councils in England, Scotland, and Wales. Several technological solutions have been sought such as a robotic van that can repair and repaint the road, and an autonomous robot being trialled on Hertfordshire’s roads.
- HS2 Phase 1 | Sir Jonathan Thompson – Chair of HS2 – has warned that the rise in the cost of materials such as concrete and steel over the past few years has added £8bn to £10bn. Current estimates for Phase 1 stand at between £49bn and £56.6bn, but at 2019 prices. He added that the cost of delivery is more than the government budgeted.
- Build-to-rent investment volumes last year surpassed 2022 by 10%, totalling £4.3bn according to CBRE. After a subdued Q2 and Q3, volumes increased at the end of the year.
- Contract awards | Data from Barbour ABI shows that construction contract awards fell by £11.1bn to £69.2bn in 2023, a 14% reduction. Applications for new planning permissions fell 16%.
- Construction skills | Catherine Storer, Executive Director of Essential Site Skills (ESS) has suggested that a route out of the skills crisis is to diversify the workforce, and bringing in “various perspectives, skills and experiences, which can contribute to innovation, increased productivity and a more resilient workforce.”