UK Schools, Universities and Hospitals Market Report 2021
“Severe disruption brought on by COVID-19 has meant a 13% reduction in the market’s value to £6.9 billion in 2020. This comes despite efforts in recent years to increase capital…

UK Schools, Universities and Hospitals Market Report 2021

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Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the UK Schools, Universities and Hospitals market, including the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruption to all sectors throughout 2020 and 2021, especially in terms of construction and maintenance. The market value of construction of schools, universities and hospitals fell by 13%, with the limited resources available being focused on dealing directly with the COVID-19 pandemic.

With schools and universities shut down for the majority of 2020, there was a decline in education orders because of the lack of demand. However, the increased pressure on hospitals saw a sharp rise in public orders in the health sector, with many medical facilities struggling from limited capacity.

As the pandemic subsides, schools, universities and hospitals are going to see an increased focus on refurbishment over new construction. The pandemic has highlighted the issues with capacity, with many facilities needing major changes to meet the possible longer-term social-distancing measures. This includes more contactless technology, smoother one-way systems, improvements to IT infrastructure, and air filtration.

This report covers the current effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools, universities and hospitals, as well as the construction and public spending efforts in the wake of the virus. It also addresses the future of the sector, including market opportunities for recovery heading into the longer term.

Read on to discover more details or take a look at all of our UK market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the schools, universities and hospitals construction market.
  • Market sizes and segmentations of the schools, universities and hospitals construction market.
  • Summaries of estates, and funding channels for capital works for schools, universities and hospitals.
  • How COVID-19 will shift priorities on school, university and hospital estates.
  • A review of industry structure and recent company activity, performance and strategy.

Covered in this report

Brands: Willmott Dixon, Skanska, Balfour Beatty, Galliford Try, Interserve.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Francesco Salau, a leading analyst in the B2B sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Severe disruption brought on by COVID-19 has meant a 13% reduction in the market’s value to £6.9 billion in 2020. This comes despite efforts in recent years to increase capital funding to address the condition of the public school and healthcare estates. The government affirmed a step change in investment through the announcement of a multi-year school rebuilding programme and additional funding for the previously announced hospital expansion plans. These commitments will drive activity in the sector, but operational restrictions due to COVID-19 may mean the market remains subdued until the virus’ prevalence subsides.

Francesco Salau
B2B Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • Key issues covered in this Report
    • COVID-19: market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • Covered in this Report
  2. Executive Summary

    • Impact of COVID-19 on schools, universities and hospitals
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on the construction of schools, universities and hospital, 24 January 2021
    • The market
    • Market size
      • Figure 2: UK annual construction output of new schools, colleges, universities and health facilities, 2016-20
    • Market segmentation
      • Figure 3: UK new construction orders by segment and sector, 2016-20, (£ billion)
    • Schools
    • Universities
    • Hospitals
    • Companies and brands
    • Industry structure
    • Company profiles
  3. Issues and Insights

    • Rising demand for rent waivers shows that students are questioning the value of accommodation during lockdown
    • Rising revenue budgets ensure capital funding reaches its target
  4. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • Market value declines, but pandemic pressure helps cement long-term capital funding commitments for the public sector
    • Disruption to output is partly offset by jump in public health spending
    • Schools
    • Universities
    • Hospitals
  5. Market Size

    • Pandemic disruption slows market but enforces commitments to long-term investment
      • Figure 4: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on the construction of schools, universities and hospital, 24 January 2021
      • Figure 5: UK annual construction output of new schools, colleges, universities and health facilities, 2016-20, (£ billion)
  6. Market Segmentation

    • Decrease in education activity offset by rise in public health spending
      • Figure 6: UK new construction orders by segment and sector, 2016-20, (£ billion)
    • Education
      • Figure 7: UK new construction orders, education segment, 2016-20, (£ billion)
    • School estate
      • Figure 8: schools by nation and school type, 2019/20, (number of schools)
      • Figure 9: UK schools by type, 2015/16-2019/20, (number of schools)
      • Figure 10: Pupils in UK schools by school type, 2015/16-2019/20, (number of pupils)
    • University estate
      • Figure 11: UK university estate by nation, 2018-19, (units and hectares)
    • Health
      • Figure 12: Value of UK new construction orders, health segment, 2016-20, (£ billion)
  7. Schools

    • Current outlook
    • English school estate condition
      • Figure 13: UK average number of pupils by school type, 2014/15-2019/20, (number of pupils per school)
    • School funding in England
    • Basic need funding
      • Figure 14: Basic need funding allocations, by English region, 2018/19 and 2019/20, (£ million)
    • School condition allocation
      • Figure 15: English schools capital funding, 2016/17-2019/20, (£ million)
    • School condition allocation spending outcomes
      • Figure 16: SCA-funded capital spending by type of work delivered, 2017-18, (proportion of total SCA funding)
  8. Universities

    • Current outlook
      • Figure 17: Top 10 UK universities by number of overseas students, 2018/19, (number of students)
      • Figure 18: Higher education student enrolments by level of study, 2014/15-2018/19, (number of enrolments)
    • Funding channels
      • Figure 19: UK universities sector capital expenditure and sources, 2015/16-2018/19, (£ 000s)
    • England
      • Figure 20: Total university capital funding, 2015/16-2020/21, (£ million)
    • Scotland
      • Figure 21: Scottish Funding Council capital funding allocations, 2015/16-2020/21
  9. Hospitals

    • Current outlook
    • Funding channels
    • England
      • Figure 22: Cost to eradicate backlog maintenance by risk level, 2018/19 and 2019/20, (£ million)
    • Scotland
      • Figure 23: Health and Sports departmental capital expenditure, 2016/17-2018/19, (£ million)
    • Summary of estates
    • England
      • Figure 24: NHS England estate profile, 2018/19 and 2019/20, (number of sites)
      • Figure 25: Public hospital bed availability and occupancy in England, Q1 2015/16-Q4 2019/20, (number of beds and %)
    • Scotland
      • Figure 26: NHS Scotland Hospital profile, 2017, (number and area)
      • Figure 27: Public hospital bed availability and occupancy in Scotland, 2007/08-2018/19, (number of beds and %)
    • Wales
      • Figure 28: Public hospital bed availability and occupancy in Wales, 2007/08-2018/19, (number of beds and %)
  10. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Uncertainty subdues growth but structure is otherwise stable
    • Framework popularity persists in the post-Carillion market
  11. Industry Structure

    • Changes in industry structure
      • Figure 29: Analysis of changes in ‘’construction of commercial buildings’ activities, 2016-20, (number of outlets and businesses)
    • Structure by employment
      • Figure 30: Analysis of the employment structure of ‘development of building project’ activities, 2018 and 2019, (number of outlets)
    • Structure by turnover
      • Figure 31: Analysis of the turnover structure of ‘development of building projects’ activities, 2018 and 2019, (£000, number of businesses)
  12. Company Profiles

    • Balfour Beatty
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 32: Financial analysis of Balfour Beatty, 2015-19, (£ million and %)
    • Galliford Try
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 33: Financial analysis of Galliford Try, 2016-20, (£ million and %)
    • Interserve
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 34: Financial analysis of Interserve, 2014-18, (£ million and %)
    • Skanska UK
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 35: Financial analysis of Skanska UK, 2015-19, (£ million and %)
    • Wilmott Dixon
    • Recent company activity
    • Financial information
      • Figure 36: Financial analysis of Willmott Dixon, 2015-19, (£ million and %)
  13. Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

    • Abbreviations
    • Methodology
  14. Further Sources and Contacts

    • Trade associations
    • British Constructional Steelwork Association
    • Chartered Institute of Building
    • Confederation of Construction Specialists
    • Construction Confederation
    • Construction Industry Council
    • Construction Industry Research & Information Association
    • Institution of Planning Supervisors
    • Major Projects Association
    • National Federation of Builders
    • Association of Building Component Manufacturers
    • The Building Centre
    • Trade magazines
    • The Builder (Monthly)
    • Builder & Engineer (Monthly)
    • Building (Weekly)
    • Building & Construction (Quarterly)
    • Building News (Alt-Months)
    • Building Research & Information (Bi-Monthly)
    • Construction Europe (Monthly)
    • Construction Forum (Alternate Months)
    • Construction Magazine (Monthly)
    • Construction Manager (10 issues per year)
    • Construction News (Weekly)
    • Constructor (Monthly)
    • Contract Journal (Weekly)
    • ESI Building Products (Annual)
    • International Construction (Monthly)
    • Premier Construction (Monthly)
    • Professional Builder (11 issues per year)
    • Public Sector Building (six issues per year)
    • QS Week
    • Trade events
    • Design London
    • Education Estates (exhibition and conference)
    • Futurebuild
    • London Build 2021
    • UK Construction Week

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


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*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

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