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Construction output falls but new work increases

According to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 11 November, construction output fell by 1.1% for the third quarter of 2016.

This figure was revised up, as expected, from the preliminary estimate of -1.4% released last month, due to the incorporation of late data. New work output increased during the quarter, but the decline was led by lower repair and maintenance activity. On an annual basis, total output rose 0.1%.

Senior economist at the Construction Products Association (CPA), Rebecca Larkin, said: “Whilst today’s figures show a contraction in construction output, surveys across the industry have painted a more positive picture of continued increases in construction activity during the quarter. This suggests that official data are likely to be revised up further as more data becomes available.

“Certainly, the ONS data show that new construction work remains the primary driver of activity, rising by 0.3% during the quarter. In contrast, repair and maintenance work was reported to have fallen by 3.6%.”

She added: “Despite the contraction in Q3, the rise in new orders in Q2, along with broadly positive expectations expressed in industry surveys, points to a favourable performance over the rest of the year. For the year to date, overall construction output remains 0.6% higher than a year ago.”

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