ONS figures reveal decrease in construction output

The FMB's Brian Berry says the fall in construction growth is illustrative of “the ongoing damaging chilling effect of political and economic uncertainty on builders’ workload.”

Construction output decreased by 0.3% in the three months to October 2019, compared with the previous three-month period, according to the latest statistical bulletin from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This was driven by a fall of 1.4% in repair and maintenance, with a smaller positive contribution from 0.3% growth in new work.

In repair and maintenance, the fall in the three months to October 2019 was largely because of the 3.6% decline in private housing repair and maintenance, with public housing repair and maintenance also falling 0.8%.

ONS reports that construction output decreased by 2.3% in the month-on-month all work series in October 2019; this is the largest monthly fall since January 2018 when it fell by 2.6%; this was largely because of a 3.1% fall in new work, with repair and maintenance also decreasing by 0.6%.

New orders grew by 0.3% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019, this follows a fall of 14.5% in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019; the rise in Quarter 3 2019 was driven by an 8.2% increase in new housing but offset by a 3.5% fall in all other work.

Commenting on the figures, Brian Berry, chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders, said that the fall in construction growth was illustrative of “the ongoing damaging chilling effect of political and economic uncertainty on builders’ workload.”

He added: “The new government must hit the ground running and invest to upskill builders if we’re to meet the construction needs of the next decade, including responding to the climate emergency.”