Chartered Institute of Building Magazine of the Chartered Institute of Building


Construction output slows after record growth

9 October 2020
Image: Dreamstime/Balakate

Construction output slowed by 3% in August following record monthly growth of 21.8% in June 2020, according to the latest official government figures.

Growth in construction was a record 18.5% in the three months to August 2020 compared to the previous three months, the Office for National Statistics said. That growth followed 10 consecutive months of decline. Growth was driven by record three-month on three-month increases in both new work (17.5%) and maintenance (20.3%).

But output decelerated in August. The level of output during the month remains 10.8% below the February 2020 level.

The growth in August 2020 is the fourth consecutive month of growth since the record monthly decline of 41.2% in April 2020 since records began in January 2010. That was followed by growth of 9.1% in May, 21.8% in June, 17.2% in July and 3% in August.

Source: ONS

Commenting on the figures, Clive Docwra, managing director of property and construction agency McBains, said: “The construction industry will welcome these figures which show a fourth consecutive month of growth since the record low of April.  But after construction output picked up significantly in June and July, today’s figures – which show growth slowing to 3% – bear out just how shaky the foundations are for the industry at the current time.

“Output still remains well below its pre-pandemic levels and although private new housing work showed strong growth, new industrial and commercial work is still declining.

“The unpredictability around further lockdowns is causing private commercial investors to remain cautious of committing to new developments. The government needs to ramp up its public infrastructure programme and speed up procurement to help tide the sector over while this fragility persists.”


Nothing dries up investment like uncertainty, and there is plenty of that around with the chaotic approach to Covid and the reckless approach to any kind of deal with the EU; “there is not plan for no deal because we will get a great deal” “we will get a good deal” “we will walk away with no deal”, contradictory much?

If there is no intention of a deal it would have been better to declare this months ago so that industry could prepare; at the moment the reluctance to prepare is because if a deal is struck it is wasted money. You’ve almost got to pick whether you are in the “deal” or “no deal” camp, but if you call it wrong you’ve chucked tens of thousands away, not a good way to run a profitable business.

Scott, 13 October 2020

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