New work boosts construction in final quarter of 2019

12 February 2020 | By Neil Gerrard

Construction output rose by 0.5% in the final quarter of 2019, driven by growing levels of work in all sectors apart from private housing and public other new work.

That’s according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics, which recorded a 0.8% rise in new work for the period. The largest increase in new work came from private commercial and public new housing, which grew by 2.5% and 8.4% respectively. Private new housing and public other new work each declined by 1.1%.

When compared with 2018, the level of all new work in 2019 saw a 2.5% increase, mainly driven by 3.4% growth in new work, and a 0.7% increase in repair and maintenance.

Meanwhile, new orders were up by 4.4% during the fourth quarter of 2019, driven by an 11.2% rise in all other work but offset by an 8.5% fall in new housing.

Commenting on the figures, Caroline Gumble, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB), said: “The UK economy was subdued towards the end of 2019 due to weak industrial output. However, the construction industry has continued to grow despite the economic slowdown and political uncertainty. We believe the majority of growth for the sector is due to new work in infrastructure and private commercial projects. The upcoming Budget and National Infrastructure Strategy need to take the construction sector into consideration to ensure there is a focus on a pipeline of well-planned projects. This will support sector jobs across the UK and ensure that the construction industry continues to grow.”

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