Darren Walker, bid proposal director at integrated property services group Styles&Wood, comments on the latest construction output figures from the Office of National Statistics:
“The latest data from the ONS suggests that the construction industry’s output has dipped since the start of 2016. However, there’s a wealth of new work coming forward particularly in the market in the north where the range of live and forthcoming opportunities in the commercial sector is particularly encouraging.
“In terms of our projected pipeline, by value, there is more work available for current year compared with this time last year and in terms of carry forward volumes to 2017 the increase is notably marked, with the office refurbishment sector featuring strongly.
“The city is attracting a wealth of new businesses and around 30 per cent of commercial work is commissioned by occupiers moving into new offices or expanding their presence in the city with a number of existing developments such as St Peter’s Square, Noma and Spinningfields. However, the majority of opportunities in the sector are refurbishment appointments by landlords of vacant space. Given the shortage of commercial accommodation in the city, refurbishment of existing buildings to enhance functionality and appearance along with creating additional footage by reconfiguring floorplates or adding storeys is becoming increasingly common as owners seek to satisfy the high numbers of occupiers seeking suitable space and maximise rental yield. This is playing a key role in filling our order book.
“We’re also seeing the emergence of more commercial to residential refurbishments as investors seek to capitalise on the strength of the residential market. However, these projects effectively reduce the already limited number of commercial schemes and act as fuel for further development activity in the commercial sector.
“Over the next twelve months, we expect to see a resurgence of national frameworks in the retail, banking and leisure sectors. On these frameworks, clients will look to consolidate their supply chains and are seeking contractors that can, on top of project delivery, provide solutions to give them a better understanding of how and where to invest in their portfolios and those that can offer an integrated approach are becoming increasingly able to steal a march as clients seek partners rather than contractors.”