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Construction output figures present mixed picture

Construction output rose 0.4 per cent in the three months to April 2019, according to data collected by the Office for National Statistics.

However, when looked at between March and April, output dropped by 0.4 per cent due to a 2.1 per cent fall in repair and maintenance, and offset by a 0.6 per cent rise in new work.

The figures also reveal that new work rose 0.1 per cent between February and April, with work on infrastructure rising by 3.6 per cent, and on new public housing by 4.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, private commercial new work fell by 2.2 per cent, and public other new work dropped by 2.3 per cent.

Looking at Q1 2019, new orders grew by 9.6 per cent. This was due to a 16.1 per cent rise in other new work and a 4.6 per cent fall in housing new work.

Spicerhaart Part Exchange & Assisted Move business development director Neil Knight says: “The construction output figures from the ONS today show that after slowing down at the end of 2018 construction output growth has now picked up again.

“We all know that with Brexit uncertainty, the housing market in general slowed right down, but I did say back in February that I thought there was more work in the pipeline and that this would start to show on the figures throughout 2019, and I think this is what we are seeing here.

“While most of the increase is as a result of public sector construction, private construction is up too, which is a really positive sign.

“In terms of evidence on the ground, we are seeing a lot of demand for part-exchange at the moment.”

Naismiths managing director Blane Perrotton adds: “Such washout figures were, sadly, more predictable than the mid-June deluge that greeted them.

“Despite growth in infrastructure and public new housing, declines in private commercial and public other new work meant that new work as a whole barely grew at all.

“It is important that the uptick in new orders seen in Q1 is not interpreted as indicative of a healthy UK construction sector. It is actually more likely the result of developers trying to get projects over the line before Britain was due to leave the EU on March 29.

“Until Britain’s post-Brexit future is cemented, inactivity is likely to continue dominating headlines and soundbites. Realistically, it will not be until Hallowe’en at the very earliest that the industry stops sitting on its hands.”



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