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Construction output remains positive, says CIOB


12th November 2020

The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has responded to today’s construction output figures published by the ONS (Office for National Statistics).

Since the initial lockdown in March the construction industry, like other sectors, has had to find new ways of working and adapt their practices. During Q2, the UK saw a nationwide lockdown with many sites pressing pause on work until clearer guidance was issued. As expected, this caused a steep decrease in construction output but as we entered the summer months into Q3, social distancing eased and a growth in productivity was seen.

September is the final month for Q3 and the latest ONS statistics saw a 2.9 per cent increase in output – the highest level of output since March 2020. The rebound in activity for Q3 was a result of lockdown restrictions easing, with the largest contributor being the private new housing sector which grew by 84.4 per cent in Q3 compared to Q2. However, an increase in new work continues to put pressure on supply chain capacity causing delays in delivery times for construction products and materials. As demand outstrips supply, purchasing prices have continued to increase, putting pressures on the smaller businesses.  

When breaking down the construction output by sector, the sharpest rises can be seen in industrial, public non-housing repair and maintenance, commercial and private housing sectors. However, this is still lower (10 per cent) than the output figures seen in September 2019. When comparing output to last year, the smallest falls were in repair and maintenance and infrastructure. Private housing new work and repair and maintenance had the largest quarterly growth, largely due to the government’s commitment to meeting housing targets and thousands of homeowners wanting to refurbish their home to improve their living and working space due to increasing numbers working from home.

Looking ahead to Q4, the CIOB anticipates that the construction industry will continue growing at a slow pace as more firms take advantage of government schemes to help boost projects and retain jobs. Despite England going into a second lockdown and the UK’s transition period coming to an end in January many construction companies remain optimistic, and as supply chains adapt to meet the demand the CIOB is confident that the construction industry will continue to work hard to keep the economy moving during these uncertain times.


Caroline Gumble, Chief Executive at the CIOB, said:

“We at the CIOB have been consistently impressed with how the construction industry has stayed strong throughout these uncertain times. The nature of the vital work that the sector does – from building social housing to new hospitals – requires many people to continue pushing projects forward throughout local and national lockdowns. New ways of working for the rest of society has created a fresh demand for different spaces, a challenge which our industry has welcomed. The CIOB looks forward to continuing to support the sector, helping to deliver quality in construction, and playing our part as a key driver in regional and national economies.”



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