14214710_mUK: Construction activity increased again in March following a sharp drop in February due to the bad weather. 

According to the latest figures from Barbour ABI, contracts in March were worth £5.2bn, an increase of 7.2% on February and 25% up on the value recorded in March 2013.

Experts are hopeful it will put the industry back on an upward trajectory with the value of new contracts rising by almost 25 per cent year-on-year.

Residential construction is still the most dominant type of contract awarded in the UK, accounting for more than a third of the total contracts by value. The report also highlights London’s hold on the market, with the capital accounting for more than a quarter of the total value but only 14% of the projects by quantity.

Five of the top 10 most valuable contracts were located in the city, such as the new £150m Crossrail maintenance contract, two large office schemes including the 2.3 acre development at Rathbone Place and two large residential schemes including the 737 housing units at Nine Elms Point worth £73.7m.

On the findings of the report, Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, commented: “All the indicators pointed towards a poor month for construction in February, with the severe weather possibly forcing contractors to put work on hold and new projects unable to commence.

“Therefore it’s positive to see that activity has picked up again in March, with a healthy 7.2% rise on the month before. This is backed up by the latest ONS construction output data, which showed construction output in the first two months of the year at 4% higher than a year ago and growth forecasts for 2014 revised up to 4.5%.”