Lancashire needs to keep on building to drive growth, awards sponsor says

Lancashire needs to get building in order to sustain momentum, a top accountancy firm and BIBAs award sponsor says.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 8th March 2022, 4:55 am

Construction industry growth hit a six-month high in January according to the latest Purchasing Managers' Index, released in February 2022 and accountancy and business advisory practice, MHA Moore and Smalley, says the county needs to keep this trend going.

The index, compiled by IHS Markit and the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply registered 56.3 in January compared to 54.3 in December 2021, marking the biggest rise since July.

A reading of 50 or higher indicates that activity in a sector is growing.

Joe Sullivan of MHA Moore and Smalley

Commercial construction has seen the most growth thanks to greater economic optimism as the immediate threat of more Covid-19 disruption has receded. It rose to 57.6 on the register.

Civil engineering also saw a big bump, but housebuilding activity was less buoyant.

The construction industry contributes around £2.1bn (7.7 per cent) in Gross Value Added to the Lancashire economy every year while employing 50,000 residents.

Joe Sullivan of MHA said the CPI data was good news for a sector that has suffered from Covid-related labour shortages and difficulties obtaining crucial materials, but that it was important to now bring forward more projects to unlock sustained growth.

He said: "It's encouraging to see the construction industry bouncing back strongly after two years of disruption. Construction is an important sector, not least because of the extended supply chain roles it creates for multiple other sectors, but also the jobs that go hand-in-hand with that.

"Construction is also one of the biggest providers of apprenticeship opportunities, creating long-term careers for people of all ages.

"For the recent growth to be sustained here in Lancashire, we need to see more large-scale infrastructure projects and big commercial developments being brought forward by both public and private sector clients."

MHA are sponsors of the Construction Business of the Year award in this year's Be Inspired Business Awards, the Bibas, previous winners of which include familiar names like Conlon Construction and Elektek.

Joe Sullivan said competition is expected to be fierce again this year.

"This is always a hotly contested category given the number of excellent construction sector businesses we have in Lancashire.

"The high calibre of entrants makes judging this one very challenging. We'll be looking beyond the ability to complete projects on time and on budget, and focusing instead on areas such as the social value that applicants create as well as their financial strength and long-term viability."

The Bibas deadline is 5pm on Friday, April 8. Visit www.thebibas.co.uk