British construction shows no signs of slowing down as cranes dominate the skyline of most major cities. The shifting sands of the Brexit negotiations are on the minds of every major development company across the UK but new projects are springing up every day.
Twice a year, professional services group Deloitte commissions a crane survey in five major cities in the UK and Northern Ireland to analyse how the construction industry is faring and where their biggest investments lie.
Using the crane survey, we’ve identified some of the biggest, most exciting construction projects being undertaken in 2019 and what makes them so brilliant, taking a look at their size, how many cranes operate there and the big budgets they’re working to.
London regeneration projects
According to Deloitte, the space under construction in London by the end of 2018 had declined by 13% compared with 2017. This, however, can in large part be attributed to the conclusion of many large-scale schemes in the city.
The Crane Survey also shows 11.8 million square feet of office space still in the pipeline, and 49% of space across the city is already let. Deloitte’s figures show continuing confidence to build across London, despite ever-present uncertainties from the Brexit negotiations.
Factfile: Battersea Power Station Regeneration
The largest UK infrastructure development on our list with the highest budget, the regeneration of London’s iconic Battersea Power Station will see luxury apartments, masses of office space, retail and leisure surround the original building on the edge of the Thames. Already boasting Apple’s new London HQ, this development is set to shift the centre of gravity and change the architecture of London permanently.
8 million sq ft
17 cranes on site as of September 2018
Terex CTL 1600, one of Europe’s largest tower cranes was also erected there in September 2018.
Original cranes from the site’s use as a power station have also been deconstructed and moved for regeneration to form a decorative part of the skyline. Heritage cranes from the 1930s will be returned to the jetty they originally stood on by the end of the year.
- The project was started in 2014
- A glass viewing deck built into an elevator was announced by architecture firm Wilkinson Eyre last year
- The public park is set to open in 2019
- Apple will move their headquarters, over 46000m², in 2021
- The entire project is expected to end in 2025
Manchester Construction Sites
Deloitte labels Manchester one of Europe’s ‘fastest growing cities’ and the number of cranes that fill the skyline certainly support this. The latest survey has found that over 11,000 residential units are under construction across 41 developments, an increase of 60% over the last year. Along with this, 32 new schemes began at the end of last year, showing continued and rapid growth for the city.
In this city, residential growth dominates, with residential and retail schemes filling neighbourhoods all around the centre. However, 1.5 million square feet of office space is still currently under construction.
Fact file: Angel Meadow
Part of the N.O.M.A district on the edge of the centre, Angel Meadow Park was previously the site of the distinctive Co-Operative HQ, One Angel Square. Now, the park from which this building takes its name will be the home to four new tower buildings with a mix of luxury apartments, office and retail space. Once complete, the central, 40-storey tower will become the largest in the city.
The four buildings will include 756 homes and over 6,500 sq ft of commercial space.
3 cranes are in operation on the development right now. Deloitte’s figures show that there are over 50 projects underway around the city, as is evident from the sheer number of cranes that crowd the city skyline.
- Building began last year on the first two towers, the Gate and the Stile
- The expected completion of these buildings is 2021
- Meadowside Manchester advertises the largest tower, the Peak, as ‘Coming Soon’
Construction projects in Birmingham
Plans are currently underway to regenerate Birmingham’s city centre, with 1.4 million sq ft of office space in development for the second year in a row. As construction of HS2 continues, the city has already been able to persuade large-scale investors to consider Birmingham, with Deutsche Bank and HSBC already moving to or expanding their operations in the city.
Fact file: Paradise Project
The largest project currently underway is known as the ‘Paradise Project’. Managed by developer Argent, previous landmarks such as the Central Library and Fletcher’s Walk have been demolished to make way for state of the art offices, homes and retail. Two buildings are already under construction with another two set to start this year.
However, the Paradise Project has been put on hold after it was revealed that the council needs a further £50 million to get it going again.
The full regeneration project is expected to be 2 million sq ft of new development. No.1 Chamberlain Square is 172,000 sq ft and No.2 is 183,000 sq ft. A further 8 buildings will be developed in phases 2 and 3.
Tower crane 4 on the site is one of the largest operating in Birmingham and is equivalent to 20 double-decker buses.
- No.1 & 2 Chamberlain Square are expected to be completed by the end of 2019
- The rest of the project has been halted while the council aims to raise £50 million after design development, infrastructure and demolition for phase 1 cost much more than previously expected
- 1 Centenary Way, 135,000 sq ft of office space was set for completion in 2022
UK infrastructure projects in Leeds
Along with major civil engineering projects like the Leeds Flood Relief Scheme, Deloitte has observed that new project starts are up to 16 from the annual average of 13. They say that residential works dominate the construction landscape of Leeds, with 1,586 residential plots under construction as of last year.
Fact file: South Bank Project
The biggest new construction project in the city in more than 100 years, the Leeds South Bank development will feature a 40-storey skyscraper and a revamped train station in anticipation of HS2.
The action is about to begin south of the river Aire with a regeneration of the Brewery site and a number of plots have had their planning permission approved for the South Bank regeneration, the centre of which will house the tallest building in Leeds.
700,000 sq ft at the Brewery site
400,000 sq ft around Holbeck
The plans cover over 27 million sq ft of land in total
Work has only just started, so no cranes can be seen around the South Bank developments
- There will be five phases of development over 12 years
- Work on the Brewery site will be going ahead soon as planning permission has been granted
Belfast building projects
Deloitte’s research shows that 22 landmark projects were completed in Belfast by the end of last year. As the city’s major regeneration projects in the Titanic Quarter come to a close, the composition of the city has changed dramatically. Hotel construction leads the industry as the city looks to draw ever more tourists.
Fact file: Titanic Quarter
Almost 10 years ago, University of Ulster’s chief economist Mike Smyth claimed that the Titanic Quarter would be Belfast’s future.
Home to major names like Citibank, Belfast Metropolitan College, Audi and the Northern Ireland Science Park, the new centre of life in Belfast hosts more than 18,000 people at work, living or studying as of 2018. It’s also home to the set of one of the world’s most popular TV series, Game of Thrones.
8 million sq ft
There are no active projects, with the Titanic Hotel opening in 2017
The entire project is set to continue, so there will certainly be more cranes hitting the skies in the near future.
- The project was launched in 2005
- The first phase was completed in 2015
- Phase two is set to conclude in 2020
- Developers believe the entire project will be finished in 2034