UK construction forecast lowered for 2020

10 min read

Mace’s latest UK tender cost update highlights how the extension to Brexit is resulting in continued uncertainty among construction firms and developers.  

The latest research from Mace’s cost consultancy experts explains how – following minimal output growth of 0.1% in the first quarter 2019 and a 1.9% decline in new orders numbers in the final quarter of 2018 – businesses would have been hoping for a Brexit outcome and a subsequent improvement in conditions over the summer.

Of course, an outcome has not yet materialised and is unlikely to do so until October. This means the construction industry, along with the rest of the economy, is operating in a state of limbo. In addition to the Brexit challenges, the report notes that material costs continue to rise – having already seen several sharp jumps in the first three months of the year – while construction earnings growth remains robust. 

The longer this combination of a weakening industry and higher costs persists, the tougher it will be-come for firms to effectively manage projects.

Based on all of these factors, Mace has lowered its tender price forecast for 2020 from 2% to 1.5%. Beyond that, and assuming a Brexit deal occurs, forecasts remain unchanged.

To see the latest set of tender cost forecasts for the next three years, please download the full report.

Steven Mason, Managing Director, Cost Consultancy said: 

“Ongoing uncertainty continues to test the resilience of the UK construction market and the economy as a whole. In spite of an increasing appetite to secure pipeline work, construction tender prices are being buoyed by continued increases in material input prices. 

“As we move into the second half of 2019, the ability of the market place to absorb these higher costs against a background of tightening margins will be limited, and we expect tender prices to continue to increase at a modest rate through to 2020.”