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Groundworks Contractors Market Report - UK 2013-2017 Analysis 

  • March 2013
  • 88 pages
  • AMA Research
Report ID: 3516877


Table of Contents

AMA Research are pleased to announce the publication of the first edition of the report ‘Groundworks Contractors Market Report – UK 2013-2017 Analysis’. This new report provides an informed and up-to-date analysis of this market and includes a review of the recent market performance and issues that continue to impact on the market, with forecasts over the next few years.

The report contains:

The health of the groundworks market is directly related to the performance of the UK housebuilding and construction sector. The market was significantly affected by the construction downturn 2008-11, but 2012 has indicated some return to stability.

The current outlook for the market into the medium-term is for a return to growth in 2013 followed by prospects of good annual rates of growth to 2017. However, the speed and extent of recovery in housebuilding and construction in general is likely to be the key determining factor for market recovery.

Of particular interest are the following:

Analysis of market performance in 2007-2012.
Structure of Groundwork Contractors market – market structure, identification of leading players, material sourcing, pricing etc.
Identification of key customer groups for groundworks contractors – including public & private sectors, domestic & non-domestic , new build & RMI, etc.
Key building materials used by groundworks contractors – market size, recent trends, distribution, etc.

Review of market performance in 2012 and current forecasts to 2017.

Contractors profiled in the report include:

AJ Morrisroe, Blaze Construction, Churngold Group, Clifford Devlin, Coinford Construction, Cuddy Group, D & E Mackay (Contractors), D20, Durman Stearn, Embassy Demolition, Erith, FK Lowry Piling, Foundation Developments, Frankis Solutions (FSL), Fred Champion Group, Gworks, Independent Ground Improvement, JC Balls, John Hellens (Contracts), John Jones (Excavations), John Luffman (Trading), L&W Wilson, Martin Joyce, Matthias Construction Materials (MCM), McGee Group, Mick George, MJ Hickey Plant Hire and Contracts, O’Brien Contractors, P P O’Connor, R & D McBain (Contractors), R&D Construction, Remedx, Renelec Groundworks, RJT Excavations, SEH (Ipswich), SJH Groundworks, Storefield Group, Thompson of Prudhoe, Toureen Mangan, UKD Groundworks & Civil Engineering, Van Elle, WAS Construction, Wordsworth Excavations, X-Cav-8.

Key areas covered in the report include:

Construction output – by value, with historical trends 2006-12 in each of the main sectors, housebuilding, non-domestic, new work & RMI, infrastructure - review of performance in 2012, forecasts 2013-2016.
Key market drivers – influences affecting recent performance, importance for groundworks contractors.
Forecast of sector performance 2013-16 – factors affecting recovery, growth prospects, etc.


Structure of groundwork contractors industry – number of businesses, size of business, market fragmentation, dominance of smaller players with few nationally operating companies, geographic coverage etc.
Key groundworks contractors – profiles including turnover, main product types installed, end-use sectors served and regions of operation.
Types of work undertaken – domestic/non-domestic and new work/RMI, mix of materials installed depending on end-use sector.

Groundworks market – analysis by value from 2007-2012, annual rates of change, key characteristics of the market, trends and current forecasts to 2017.
Market trends and major factors influencing market development – impact of economic downturn, fluctuating performances of housebuilding, private and public non-domestic construction and RMI (sector sizes, growth rates, future prospects etc).
Material distribution channel mix – including direct supply, builders merchants, civil engineering suppliers, equipment hire companies and specialists materials suppliers – key players etc.
Future prospects – forecasts to 2017, main positive and negative factors that could impact on the market and potential areas for growth.

Review of market for main products used by groundwork contractors – precast concrete products, DPC/DPMs, plumbing & drainage, cement & aggregates - market size, trends, influencing factors, etc.
Identification of leading suppliers of materials.
Supply routes for main products – direct supply, merchants, specialist suppliers etc.
Equipment Hire market - earth moving, pumping / crushing / screening, road making.The groundworks contractors market was estimated to be worth around £4.22bn in 2012, approximately 35% below the pre-recession peak of £6.48bn achieved in 2008. The market size is open to discussion as definition of ‘groundworks’ includes a wide range of projects and products. Groundworks contractors undertake a wide variety of products and services which can be split into 3 broad categories - groundworks & treatments, substructure and hard landscaping/finishing.

The chart indicates that the groundworks contractors market peaked in 2008 at around £6.5bn, subsequently declining by 38% to around £4.02bn in 2011. Most significant decline was experienced 2008-09 with the impact of the dramatic reversal within the housebuilding market from late 2008 onwards. The sector experienced further decline of around 20% in 2009-11, partially due to a downturn in both domestic and non-domestic construction new orders but also because of increased competition between contractors which led to pressure on tender prices. Initial estimates for 2012 indicate that there has been some element of growth as housing starts have begun to recover and there appears to be an easing of pressure on tender prices.

During the last 2-3 years, the market has experienced a period of rationalisation as larger construction organisations have either closed, divested or restructured specialist groundworks divisions - a reversal of the trend up to 2008 when independent groundwork specialists were being acquired by larger contractors. Material price volatility in 2011-12 has also put further pressure on contractors margins – particularly fluctuations in steel and oil costs. Further rationalisation of the market may occur as larger national general contractors may re-enter the sector through acquisition as work volumes pick up momentum.

Material pricing is likely to remain volatile into the longer-term - pressure on operating margins for the majority of contractors is likely to increase rather than ease into the medium-term.

As with many sub-contracted activities, the industry has become used to more “competitive pricing” - particularly for tenders over the last 2-3 years - and it is unlikely that this pressure will ease significantly in the short-term. Main contractors are now used to driving best value at all levels of the contract and this is unlikely to change in future years. Inevitably, pressure on margins will be maintained even though the market is expected to begin to show good growth from 2013 onwards, which may result in further rationalisation of the sector.

Overall, the groundworks contractors market is likely to be one of the first construction sectors to benefit from the anticipated recovery, with growth for the market likely to be ahead of any growth in construction output.

Outlook into 2013 remains mixed with the market currently forecast to improve by around 4-5% based on steady continued recovery in housebuilding and slight improvement in private sector commercial new orders into H2 2012. The groundworks contractors market is currently forecast to achieve good annual rates of growth 2013-16 of typically around 6-8% with market value forecast to reach around £6.3bn by 2016.

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