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Tue January 18 2022

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Shortages blamed for construction output decline

10 Dec 21 Construction output in Great Britain in October 2021 fell at its steepest rate since the first national Covid lockdown 18 months before, according to government statistics.

Construction output fell 1.8% in volume terms in October 2021, making it the largest monthly decline since April 2020 when output fell a massive 41.7% with the national lockdown causing construction sites to shut.

New work fell 2.8% from September to October 2021 while repair & maintenance remained unchanged, the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) bulletin shows.

Anecdotal evidence continues to suggest that product shortages and subsequent rising prices were a key factor in the decline, the ONS said.

The main contributors to the decline in monthly output in October 2021 were infrastructure and private new housing, which decreased 7.1% and 4.4% respectively. Private industrial and public other new work were up 8.8% and 7.0% respectively.

The level of construction output in October 2021 was 2.8% (£400m) below the February 2020, pre-coronavirus level; new work was 6.2% (£592m) below the February 2020 level, while repair & maintenance work was 3.9% (£193m) above the February 2020 level.

The extent of recovery to date, since the falls at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, has varied between the sectors, with infrastructure up 37% and private commercial still 27% below the February 2020 benchmark.

Over the three months to October 2021, construction output fell by 1.2% – with

a 1.5% fall in repair & maintenance (3.5% fall in non-housing repair & maintenance) and a fall of 1.0% in new work.

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