Construction still battling a ‘difficult’ economic climate


THE 1.9% fall in construction output is a warning that the sector is still battling a ‘difficult’ economic climate, the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has said.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said, “It is concerning to see another decline in construction output of 1.9% this month, and this is compounded by the overall decrease of 1.0% in the three months to February. While growth had been seen in January, these figures underline the challenging winter period that UK construction has faced. It is particularly concerning that this decline was in part led by a drop in repair and maintenance work, a sector that had been doing well last year, comparatively to other sub-sectors. Survey responses from the ONS research suggest that this was down to poor weather conditions, with heavy rainfall hindering many projects, and we’ll have to see if warmer spring weather brings a welcome boost for builders.

“Despite overall gross domestic product (GDP) being up slightly this month for the wider UK economy, the decline in construction output is holding back substantial improvement. As we head into the drier months, the government needs to take this opportunity to help boost that construction activity, which could take the form of helping to step up house building and measures to help owner owners make their homes more energy efficient. These two measures would help drive economic growth.”