By Daniel Hunter

There’s a new feeling of positive change in the built environment industry at present, although there isn’t enough official evidence of a positive upturn yet - according to Barbour ABI’s Lead Economist, Michael Dall.

Writing in Barbour ABI’s Construction Review for Quarter Two 2013, he points to a number of positive news stories, including June sentiment indices across construction, manufacturing and services showing a monthly increase. The CIPS/Markit PMI Construction Index was at its highest level since May 2012.

But he also points out that while construction output in Q2 2013 increased by 0.9% from Q1 2013 it was still 1.0% down from the same period in 2012. Barbour ABI’s figures also show mixed fortunes in different built environment sectors over the second quarter of 2013.

- The quarterly review figures for the industrial sector have shown an upturn this quarter with an increase of 9% in the total value of orders. This corresponds with a 29% increase from the same quarter in 2012 indicating continued growth in this sector.

- The Education sector experienced a 25% increase compared to the previous quarter and a 22% increase over the corresponding quarter of 2012.

- But the Medical & Health sector continues to have challenging conditions with the total value of projects declining by 31% this quarter and 48% on the corresponding quarter in 2012.

- The Civils sector showed a 4% increase in the value of projects on the previous quarter. However, this was down by 69% on the corresponding quarter of 2012.

- The Commercial & Retail sector demonstrated a slight decrease in the value of projects by 1% on the previous quarter. Project value is also down by 3% on the corresponding quarter of 2012, reflecting a slight contraction in the sector.

- The total value of residential projects awarded increased by 17% from the previous quarter but this was 9% below the level of the corresponding quarter of 2012.

“With the IMF raising its forecast for economic growth in the UK from 0.7% to 0.9% and the Ernst & Young Item Club raising its forecast from 0.6% to 1.1%, the consensus is certainly moving into positive territory," Mr Dall said.

“The announcements in the Infrastructure Statement, which committed up to £100bn of funding for infrastructure from 2015, have the potential to have a major impact on the construction industry’s performance in the coming years.”

Barbour ABI produces its Construction Review Report every quarter and the Report is compiled by its team of researchers using planning information data from England, Scotland and Wales.

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