Solid growth in the commercial sector
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UK office construction reached a post-recession peak in the first quarter of 2016, according to latest analysis, with more than £2bn worth of contracts awarded.

Dunne is building a £90m office development at 122 Waterloo Street, Glasgow
Above: Dunne is building a £90m office development at 122 Waterloo Street, Glasgow

The three-month total was the highest figure since 2008.

According to the figures from industry analyst Barbour ABI on behalf of the Office for National Statistics, office construction new orders have been gradually increasing since 2012, where in the first quarter new orders were worth £890m, compared to more than double that in the first quarter of 2016.

Six of the contracts let during the first quarter of 2016 were worth more than £50m. They include Glasgow’s 122 Waterloo Street offices, 10-storeys high and worth £90m that Dunne is building, and the £50m Energis House in Reading.

Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, said: “Office availability is at its lowest for 15 years across London, with many other parts of the UK in a similar position, due to below average office development since the recession. However this past quarter is encouraging with major developments spread right across the UK.

“There are major towns and cities such as Liverpool, Glasgow & Cardiff in vital need of more grade A office space. However Manchester in particular stands out, as it requires an extra three million square feet of office space over the next 10 years if it’s to keep up with the city’s forecasted economic growth.

“With the demand so high it is not surprising to see figures reach record post-recession levels, which I see continuing throughout 2016, barring any worries regarding the EU referendum that may stutter future progress.”