The UK construction grew by 2.6% during the first quarter of 2021 but construction output powered ahead in March by 5.8%, demonstrating that the construction industry is helping to lead economic recovery.
Figures released today by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show that construction output grew by 5.8% in March 2021, because of growth in both new work (6.7%) and repair and maintenance (4.4%). In March Construction output was 2.4% (£334 million) above the February 2020 pre-pandemic level; repair and maintenance was 7.7% (£377 million) above this level, while new work was 0.5% (£44 million) below.
Quarterly construction output grew by 2.6% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2021 compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2020; this was driven by growth in both new work (2.8%) and repair and maintenance (2.2%).
New orders increased by 12.2% (£1,227 million) in Quarter 1 2021 compared with Quarter 4 2020; this follows a fall of 7.8% (£848 million) in Quarter 4 2020 but was 13.3% lower than Quarter 1 2020. However, the annual rate of construction output price growth was 1.8% in March 2021.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB said: “Growth in construction output, especially in the repair, maintenance and improvement sector at 4.4%, is good news for small builders and should indicate to the Government that, with the correct support, builders can help drive the UK’s wider economic recovery. To maintain this momentum, the Government needs to build on this success and support Britain’s builders in building back better with a commitment to a long-term retrofit strategy to make our existing homes greener and more energy efficient.
“The Government should also use its Skills Bill to ensure the right training is available to fill persistent shortages in the traditional trades, such as bricklaying and plastering, as well as new skills to address net zero. And without compromising quality, the Planning Bill offers the valuable opportunity to reverse the decline of small house builders if we are to deliver the new homes the country needs.”