Building magazine: London’s size helping it cope with covid crisis, latest RLB survey into pandemic’s impact says

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  • Building magazine: London’s size helping it cope with covid crisis, latest RLB survey into pandemic’s impact says
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Russell Lloyd


Russell Lloyd


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“London faring better than most in the wake of the COVID crisis”. This was the headline in the recent Building article that featured results from the third iteration of a rolling global survey we have been running featuring insights from our colleagues in our global offices about the impact of the pandemic on their businesses, tender enquiries and the construction market in their regions.

But worries grow over jobs in regions.

London is continuing to fare better than others, the latest survey of Rider Levett Bucknall offices into the COVID-19 pandemic has found.

It is the third monthly survey RLB, which has 22 affiliate firms around the world and employs 4,000 people globally, has produced since the coronavirus crisis escalated.

Cities which are coping well include Los Angeles, Shanghai and Sydney but Moscow, Chicago and Lisbon were doing less well. Closer to home, the firm said London was holding up “as the majority of larger projects are continuing”. It added: “Activities on site are generally becoming more manageable due to the government’s Construction Leadership Council guidance.”

Russell Lloyd, Global Board Director at RLB, said: “Many of London’s projects are of a larger scale nature and therefore had years of strategic planning and upfront investment, meaning that they have continued development during the pandemic. This in itself helps insulate London from the overall economic impact slightly.”

But regional cities including Manchester and Birmingham both reported worries about future workloads. The report said: “Birmingham reported the number of stalled projects may increase as funding markets are hardening and easing of constraints will be key to many projects being unlocked.” In Manchester, the report said there was a “need to stimulate residential projects in particular”.

Overall, the report said the number of respondents reporting a 41%-50% decline in tender enquires in June had dropped to 10.5% from 28% last month while 63% of respondents claim the fall of productivity is less than 20% compared to just under 40% in May. And 70% of those surveyed estimated that 90% of construction sites in their country were now open.

The best global performing sectors, it added, included data centres, healthcare and industrial and logistics.


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