Construction output dips in Q3

11 December 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

Construction output dipped by 0.3% in the three months to October as compared to the previous three months, according to the latest official figures.

But there were signs of a more rapid slowdown towards the end of the period, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS recorded a 2.3% drop in output in October as compared to September, making it the largest fall since January 2018 (a drop of 2.6% due to bad weather). ONS said the fall in October this year could once again have been due to the effects of adverse weather but it was “difficult to quantify the exact impact”.

The decline was driven by a 3.1% drop in new work, and a 0.6% fall in repair and maintenance. For new work, there were declines in most sectors, with the largest negative contributions coming from private new housing and infrastructure, which fell by 4.7% and 6.3% respectively. Public housing and private commercial were the only sectors within new work to see increases, growing by 4.1% and 0.5% respectively.

Looking at the three months to October 2019 as compared to the previous three months, construction output declined by £114m, while new work rose by £79m boosted by private commercial and private industrial. But total new housing was down by £84m, the largest decline since June 2018.

Commenting on the figures, Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) chief executive Caroline Gumble said: “It’s interesting to look at these figures and note that there is something of a slowdown, although that’s not a huge surprise given the current political environment. As the CIOB has said in our manifesto, we need to see a pipeline of well-planned projects and support for sector jobs across the UK. These should be among the priorities for the next government for this important sector.”

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