Boost as factory planning applications increase

PLANNED investments in land and property from manufacturing companies are continuing to grow, providing a clear sign of longer term optimism, it emerged yesterday.

Planning applications for floor space for factory construction increased by 50 per cent in 2014, and the figure is on track to increase by a further 40 per cent growth in 2015.

The latest report from Barbour ABI, a chosen provider of construction data for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Government, shows significant growth for factory planned floorspace from March 2014 to last month, based on a 12-month rolling average.

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Total planned floorspace in the manufacturing sector was 2.2 million sq metres in 2014, with a growth of 50 per cent from the previous year.

This follows the same upward trajectory in manufacturing output which increased by 2.9 per cent in 2014.

Planning application floorspace in March had a yearly increase of 56 per cent, the largest of any month in the report which dates back to January 2011, with 199,296 sq metres of planned floor space. In the first four months of 2015, planning applications have totalled 1.1 million sq metres which if continued, would mean total planned floor space will be in excess of 3 million sq metres for the full year.

Despite recent signs of a slowdown in manufacturing through both GDP and Markit PMI surveys, investment intentions from manufacturers in property appears to remain strong.

Planning applications for factory floor space is an indication of the longer term optimism of manufacturers, both in terms of increasing and improving factors of production. Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI said: “With planning applications continuing to rise, businesses and investors appear to be preparing and planning long term financial commitments within the industry.

“Despite the signs of a recent slowdown, the capacity of the UK manufacturing sector is set to increase.

“Whether this fully transfers into increased output remains to be seen but it certainly shows that an appetite for investment remains strong.”

Barbour ABI is a leading provider of construction intelligence services. With a team of in-house research specialists and a dedicated lead economist, it provides commercially relevant insight and unique analysis of trends and developments within the building and construction industry.

It is the chosen provider of Construction New Orders data to the Office for National Statistics and the Government’s Construction and Infrastructure Pipeline.

Barbour ABI also provides data for independent organisations and is part of global events-led marketing services and communications company, UBM.