ONS reports rise in construction output

Construction output saw a monthly increase of 1% in October, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is due to increases in both new workup (+0.3%) and repair and maintenance (+2.3%).

The data shows that this is the sixth consecutive month of growth, but the smallest monthly increase in that time.

Construction output grew by 24.9% in the three months to October 2020 compared with the previous three month period. This is as a result of a 23.8% rise in new work, and a 26.8% uptick in repair and maintenance over the same timeframe.

Furthermore, the level of construction output in October 2020 was 6.4% below February 2020, with only infrastructure having recovered above this pre-lockdown level of output. The research also detailed that new private housing construction work rose by 145% since the first lockdown. However, new private housing construction activity dipped 1.9% on a monthly basis.

Andy Sommerville, director at Search Acumen, said: “This latest data shows an uplift in construction output from the troughs of lockdown, driven in part by rampant buyer activity in the housing market and improving confidence levels among housebuilders.

“The higher stamp duty threshold has increased demand for properties, triggered by buyers rushing to lock in the financial benefits on offer.

“Historically low mortgage rates and changing consumer preferences toward larger properties with access to green space are further injecting stimulus in the buyer side of the market.

“As a result, housebuilders may have rapidly scaled up supply to capitalise on elevated levels of demand.

“The distribution of an effective coronavirus vaccine is improving the prospects of economic activity returning to normal soon.

“This is partially offsetting fears that unemployment may rise sharply in 2021 once government support schemes are wound down, which will help maintain demand in the property market.

“A better outlook for next year is likely to prompt housebuilders to continue with building projects.

“Digital innovation has been vital to keep the property market functioning for buyers and sellers during the pandemic.

“However, these innovations now need to be adopted by housebuilders to ensure supply can better meet the surge in demand.

“Improving data consumption and adoption of digital practices will help housebuilders make efficiency gains and reduce the cost of supplying new housing.”

The government’s greenlighting of a series of infrastructure projects has propelled infrastructure output past its pre-COVID levels. There’s now a very real prospect that from 1st January, trade barriers will add cost and delays to the imports of certain crucial building materials.

FASET, Fall Arrest Safety Equipment Training, is the established trade association and training body for the safety netting and temporary safety systems industry. FASET has long been a foundation in supporting its members with expert quality guidance, dedicated working at height training and exclusive membership benefit schemes all with the intention of promoting a safer way of working.

As we near the end of 2020, a year in which almost every industry has been shaken to its foundation by the coronavirus pandemic, it is heartening to see the construction sector recovering, with business picking up and its workers enjoying a level of security once more. At-height working is a vital part of the sector, which is why FASET take a keen interest in developments, especially during this uncertain time.

Image: Pikist

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