rider lev 05102023

Construction activity Yorkshire and Humber region

The third quarter of built environment consultancy Rider Levett Bucknall’s Tender Price Forecast report explores the local effects of the wider national economic situation on construction activity, by focusing on regional perspectives and regional effects across the country. (The full report is here).

Commenting on the regional activity, Matt Summerhill, Managing Partner for RLB Yorkshire, Humber and the North East said:

“Our latest report shows that construction activity in the Yorkshire and Humber region has remained resilient. The Public Sector continues to support ongoing management of significant estates, allowing asset and data capture to inform decisions around wider estate strategies.

A number of funding streams continue to support development such as the Levelling Up Fund works in Stocksbridge and Castlegate with Sheffield City Council, where RLB are supporting the Council over multiple projects and services.  Despite key challenges, we have seen continued interest in the region from institutional investors and non-regional developers, particularly in the regions core cities, such as the Old Technology Campus Redevelopment in Leeds with Metropolitan & District Securities where RLB are providing Project Management and Cost Management services, which shows underlying confidence in the region while we wait for the market to settle.”


Construction in Yorkshire and Humber has remained resilient, however the inevitable impact on public spending and a cooling of the housing market is working its way through to a slowing of the residential sector. Despite this impact, other sectors, particularly the public sector, continue to support the industry for the time being. It is anticipated that new housing schemes will stall over the next few months whilst the market settles.

Labour and skills shortages are continuing to affect the region’s ability to deliver. This is also resulting in inflationary pressure on contractors’ costs, with suppliers and sub-contractors still holding strong positions and unwilling to commit to long-term fixed prices. This is likely to remain while the labour shortage and challenges faced around materials supply and prices continue.

It is expected that the current rebalancing of the construction market in Yorkshire and Humber will continue into early 2024, when consumer confidence may revive along with increased starts in the private sector market.

Other points:

■ Sectors clearly adversely impacted are the retail and hospitality sectors, with reduced consumer spending impacting directly on construction opportunities.

■ Demand for “greener” office space is a key area of growth. Many large employers are refurbishing or relocating premises to provide flexible and improved office environments.

■ Agreement of terms on large developments continues to be a challenge between clients and contractors, particularly around commercial risk and inflation. However, this is to be expected and flexibility will be required by all parties to prevent adverse impacts on the pace of growth in the region.

■ Despite the key challenges faced in the wider economy, there is resilience and underlying confidence remaining which continues to be demonstrated in new large-scale developments for example in Sheffield, large mixed-use developments such as 190 Norfolk Street and the Hive at Kelham Island which have sustainability and wellbeing at their core and are exciting developments for the region.

■ With new low carbon office developments such as City Square House in Leeds including 140,000 sq.ft of Grade A office space and the associated City Square alterations, confidence in the office market is clearly apparent here to stay for the medium-term as part of new drivers for better, greener workspaces.