A snapshot of domestic and small-scale construction activity across England and Wales has revealed the north is ‘out skipping’ the aouth with five times the number of skips in the north east compared to the south west and over twice the number of skips in Cardiff compared to Nottingham.
In the East of England, Cambridge is leading the field, with Suffolk and Bedford borough also showing higher levels of activity than the rest of the region.
The RICS ‘Skip Score’ looks at the number of skip licences issued per 100,000 people across the England and Wales, covering both residential and small-scale commercial developments.
Local councils in England and Wales provided data on the number of skips licences between October 2012 and January 2014 to create an overview of SME construction activity.
Similar to the ‘Crane Index’, which indicates levels of construction activity by the number of cranes dominating the skylines, the ‘Skip Score’ measures the number of skips on public roads across England and Wales and is a sign of construction activity.
Now with the economy officially out of recession and UK Housing Repair and Maintenance (R&M) activity forecast to grow two per cent this year and four per cent in 2015), skips are a positive indication that homeowners are increasingly confident about investing in the repair and/or renovation of their homes.
RICS director of built environment Alan Muse said: “Skips are a very visible indicator of the health of small and independent construction firms and a good bellwether for the wider economy.
“During the downturn many will have noticed a dip in the number of skips on our streets as households reigned in spending, but it is very clear that skips are back as consumer confidence returns.
“Our Skip Score shows where the hotspots are across the country, including some surprising results. The recovery is clearly not just confined to London, which is good news for this vital part of the construction industry and the wider rebalancing of the economy.”
Dayle Bayliss, RICS regional spokesperson for the East of England, added: “The sight of more skips being used by households is not only a good sign for SME construction firms, but a positive for the wider economy as confidence builds.
“The results indicate there’s an air of optimism across all levels of the construction sector, which is a positive for the industry.
“The findings reflect the activity felt in Cambridge but also show some surprises for the East of England for Suffolk and Bedford.”