GB output falls

13 November 2015

A 2.2% fall in output in the construction industry in Great Britain has been recorded for the third quarter of 2015 compared to the second quarter, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

However, between the third quarter of 2015 and the same period in 2014, output was estimated to have decreased by just 0.1%.

Output is defined as the amount charged by construction companies to customers for value of work produced during the reporting period, excluding VAT and payments to sub-contractors.

The ONS said that downward pressure on the quarter came from both the all new work sector – down 2.2% – and repair and maintenance, which fell by 2.1%. All work types except infrastructure and private industrial reported decreases.

In the three months that make up the third quarter of 2015, the largest fall was seen in August, when it was down 3.4%.

In September, output in the construction industry was estimated to have decreased by 0.2% compared with August, and this was attributed to a fall in all new work of 2.4%. This was offset by repair and maintenance which increased by 3.8%.

Output in the construction industry decreased by 1.6% in September 2015 compared with September 2014.

Michael Thirkettle, chief executive of interdisciplinary international construction and property consultancy McBains Cooper, said the figures were worrying news for the construction industry, and added that the industry did not have much confidence that government measures in its housing and planning bill, as they stood, would kick-start the house-building programme.

He said, “The bill proposes that councils will have until 2017 to draw up local plans to build more homes, which could be an excuse for a further delay. This means we will be two years further down the line before construction can begin in earnest, stifling the industry and failing to provide the much-needed new homes to meet the chronic housing shortage.”

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