Construction Output Up with Rise in New Work

CONSTRUCTION OUTPUT HAS risen by 1.4% in the three months to January 2020 compared with the three months before, with much of the rise down to an increase in new work.

The latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed that construction output was up by 1.6% on January 2019.

However, the rise masks a fall in repair and maintenance work on private property. For the three months to January, repair and maintenance work was down by 0.6% compared with the previous three-month period.

Repair and maintenance in January 2020 was down 4.5% on January 2019, and down 5.6% on December 2019.

The fall in repair and maintenance resulted in an overall decline from December 2019 to January 2020 of 0.8%.

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Clive Docwra, Managing Director of construction consulting and design agency McBains, said:“The construction sector will give a cautious welcome to these figures, in particular positive growth in private housing, private commercial and infrastructure work.

“Underlying long-term growth is still fragile however, with the figures showing volatile patterns over previous months, and the industry will be looking with interest at the Chancellor’s budget later today for any announcements that will give the sector a much-needed boost.

“Clarity on growth over the next few months is doubly important as the impact of coronavirus is an unknown quantity. If workers have to self-isolate, this will trigger a dip in activity, and if financial market values continue to fall then this will also have an impact on investors’ capacity to commit to new projects.”

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