UK construction and property
- Retail | An average of 47 stores a day closed in 2022 – a total in excess of 17,000. The Centre for Retail Research findings show that 11,636 stores closed due to rationalisation programmes, and 5,509 were due to insolvencies. Total closures reached a five-year high, although closures due to corporate collapse were down 56% due to the collapse of Debenhams and Arcadia in 2021.
- Housing market | House prices have experienced their longest fall since the financial crisis, having fallen for a fourth consecutive month.
- Insolvencies | The Red Flag Alert estimates that there is approximately £300m in bad debt within the UK construction industry and this could increase to £1bn by the start of 2024. Unpaid bills, staffing and supply chain issues, the legacy of Covid, inflation and interest rate increases are all having an impact.
- Staircase consultation | A consultation has been opened by the government on plans to make second staircases compulsory in new residential buildings over 30 metres.
- Nuclear reactors | Balfour Beatty has joined up with Holtec International, a US small modular reactor power station builder, to act as the main constructor of mini reactors across the UK. It aims to complete its first 490MW unit in the early 2030s and build up to 10 by 2035.
- Hinkley Point C extension | The “long-stop date” for the nuclear power plant has been extended by three years to November 2036. This means that the plant will receive state support even if it doesn’t become operational until 2036. The originally agreed date was 2025. EDF maintains that the plant’s start-up schedule remains unchanged.