How is increased construction demand in Leeds impacting the sector?

Leeds is a location on the up with a positive business outlook and growth forecasts that outpace any other UK city. The local economy has grown by 34% over the past 10 years and it is now the largest centre outside of London for a number of key sectors, including financial services and digital and creative. Construction and housing, too, has been one of the key growth areas of the Leeds economy in recent years and this boom is having a positive impact on the sector as a whole.

A wealth of local construction activity

Leeds has received a great deal of economic investment over the past decade – almost £4 million of investments in major projects alone. This has created a broad scope for construction projects within the city, which has experienced a boom that has impacted across the sector. Construction in Leeds has taken many forms, including new housing and infrastructure projects, private industrial and private commercial construction, as well as public non-housing projects.

One example comes from the commercial construction sector – 700,000 sq ft of office space construction was completed in Leeds in 2016, the highest level for more than 10 years. Currently, an additional 460,000 sq ft of new office space is being constructed in the city, including key developments such as No.6 Wellington Place and the 200,000 sq ft Central Square in the city’s West End.

Refurbishment and redevelopment

The city of Leeds has also provided a fertile landscape for refurbishment and redevelopment projects. The expanding local business community, combined with investment in the city and the sites that are ripe for redevelopment have triggered a wave of projects like this, including major office developments like the refurbishment of Merrion House and redevelopment of Platform, formerly City House.

How is this increase in demand affecting the wider sector?

Landmark projects with national visibility

Many of the construction projects currently under way in Leeds are incredibly ambitious and generating national attention for the sector. For example, the South Bank scheme, which aims to double the size of Leeds city centre.

An example of what investment can do

The return on investment in Leeds is the economic growth that the city is experiencing – its economy is predicted to increase by 21% over the next 10 years. As an example of what can be achieved with urban investment, Leeds could inspire other transformations that require considerable construction sector input too.

Creating jobs and supporting the growth of local construction businesses

An increase in construction demand has helped drive growth for local construction firms. Leeds based Castlehouse Construction, for example, reported an increase in turnover from £195k in 2011/12 to more than £20m in 2018/19.

The company has widened its local portfolio and grown to employ more than 30 staff, as well as working with major national brands such as Lidl. GMI Construction, which is based in Manchester and Leeds, is another obvious example of success. The business reported turnover of £120 million in 2019 and employs 100+ people.

The construction sector in Leeds is one of the key growth areas benefitting from the expanding local economy. Its impact is already being positively felt across the wider construction industry.

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