Charles Mount has been following construction activity as a proxy variable for commercial archaeology work in Ireland (Mount 2012). His data show that a slowdown in construction results in a reduction in commercial archaeology, a well known trend around the world. Applying this concept to the UK we can look at the construction industry as a proxy for possible commercial archaeology activitiy. In this case, the The Markit/CIPS Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is used. The results show that while construction was very strong at the beginning of the year, especially March, the index has been falling in the last couple of months. It is currently flirting with contraction, a reading of under 50, and it is unlikely that commercial archaeology, as a whole sector, will have seen lots of growth in the last few months.
Taking a longer view of the sector shows some clouds on the horizon. The UK government is now providing pipeline views of new construction projects anticipated over the next couple of years. These are big projects, £10 million plus, but these projects indicate a drop in government construction projects over the next few years. Government construction projects make up 40 percent of the construction sector.
|Count of Entries||Sum of 2011/12 (£m)||Sum of 2012/13 (£m)||Sum of 2013/14 (£m)||Sum of 2014/15 (£m)|
|Flood||38||£224 m||£289 m||£273 m||£251 m|
|Health||158||£590 m||£1,066 m||£983 m||£807 m|
|Housing & Regeneration||47||£1,789 m||£1,100 m||£1,281 m||£1,552 m|
|Justice||14||£203 m||£254 m||£280 m||£78 m|
|Transport||68||£3,596 m||£3,411 m||£3,622 m||£4,001 m|
|Waste||35||£594 m||£1,090 m||£1,407 m||£803 m|
|Education||£2,504 m||£1,640 m||£486 m|
|MOD||90||£396 m||£732 m||£627 m||£592 m|
|Police Authorities||132||£216 m||£14 m||£15 m||£03 m|
|Home Office||6||£13 m|
|Nuclear Decommissioning||24||£313 m||£275 m||£360 m||£449 m|
|Research||10||£13 m||£23 m||£14 m||£11 m|
|Further Education||1||£17 m||£153 m||£59 m||£01 m|
|Culture, Media and Sport||4||£1,098 m||£467 m||£425 m||£117 m|
|FCO Embassies||£42 m||£64 m||£69 m||£65 m|
|Coal Authority||2||£06 m||£07 m||£08 m||£08 m|
|Grand Total||629||£11,614 m||£10,586 m||£9,908 m||£8,738 m|
This could pickup as more projects are proposed and more money is allotted to large government construction projects. However, there needs to be a 25 percent increase in money allotted for proposed projects by 2014/15 to keep the supply constant. It looks as though construction will not see large growth in the next few months and there are head winds for the future. This means that commercial archaeology is probably in a similar setting. Do not expect a large contraction, but there is unlikely to be a large pickup either.
As should always be noted, a large catastrophic event make all projects redundant.
Mount, C. 2012. Indicators suggest that archaeological activity in Ireland continued to decline in the third quarter of 2012. The Charles Mount Blog, 4 October 2012. http://charles-mount.ie/wp/?p=960
Charles Mount has published some numbers on excavation licenses for Irish archaeology during the first two quarters of 2012–and the news is not good. You can see the full numbers in his post:
The Heritage Council of Ireland, a statutory body established under the Heritage Act, 1995, has released a report on the Economic Value of Ireland’s Historic Environment conducted by Ecorys and Fitzpatrick Associates. As defined by the report, Ireland’s historic environment consists of two World Heritage Sites, Bru na Boinne in Co Meath and Skellig Michael off Co Kerry, more than 20 Historic National Properties, 38,000 protected structures and more than 120,000 monuments protected under the National Monuments Act. These resources were used as the basis for the economic analyses.
Some of the highlights are:
- The historic environment is a highly significant contributor to Ireland’s national economy, directly
supporting almost 25,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs.
- Including indirect and induced effects, it is estimated that the historic environment sector supports
approximately 40,000 FTE employment positions in Ireland.
- Within the context of Ireland’s economy, it is estimated that the historic environment’s contribution to the
national economy is equivalent to one percent of total Irish Gross Value Added (GVA), and two percent of overall employment.
- Ireland’s built historic environment constitutes an invaluable educational resource, and at all stages of
the lifelong learning spectrum. For example, not only are Ireland’s flagship heritage sites a major
source of school educational visits, they are also a focus of academic research and conference
- The role of Ireland’s historic environment in attracting private sector investment into Irish towns and
cities, and its contribution to enhancing quality of life/livability in these localities.
There are more benefits as well that can be seen in the report.