Construction output figures indicate growth in the industry

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The new construction output figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show all work growing by 2.8% in January 2019, reversing the sharp decline seen in December 2018

The monthly business survey collects output by sector from businesses in the construction industry within Great Britain.

Following the announcement by the UK Statistics Authority on 7 March 2019, Construction Output Price Indices, Great Britain construction output statistics and Construction new orders are now re-designated as National Statistics.

Construction output decreased by 0.6% in the three-month on three-month all work series in January 2019; this decrease was driven by a fall of 2.3% in the all repair and maintenance series, which was offset by an increase of 0.3% in the all-new work series.

The fall in the three-month on three-month all repair and maintenance series was driven primarily by non-housing repair and maintenance, which fell by 3.2%, and private housing repair and maintenance, which fell by 2.3%.

The all work series grew by 2.8% in January 2019 in the month-on-month series, reversing the 2.8% decline seen in December 2018.

New orders fell by 1.9% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2018 against the previous quarter, with all other work decreasing by 3.8%, more than offsetting the 2.3% growth in all new housing during the same period.

Clive Docwra, Managing Director of leading construction consulting and design agency McBains, said: “The January figures are moderately encouraging, especially given the shadow of a no-deal Brexit looming large, which we expected to see reflected in a contraction – or at least a slowdown – in output.

“However, the real test of the resilience of the construction sector will be in the months to come.

“Many of our clients are telling us they are biding their time before they commit to investing in new projects until the whole Brexit situation becomes clearer, as evidenced by today’s statistics showing a fall in new orders over the last quarter of 2018.  The next few months could prove to be a crunch point for the industry.”

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