ONS report overview
- Construction output grew by 1.9% in the month-on-month all work series in November 2020, because of a 3.5% increase in new work that more than offset the 0.6% fall in repair and maintenance; this was the seventh consecutive month of growth since the record decline (40.7%) in April 2020.
- The level of construction output in November 2020 was 0.6% above the February 2020; with repair and maintenance work 7.4% above and new work 3.1% below its pre-pandemic level.
- The monthly increase in new work (3.5%) in November 2020 was because of growth in all new work sectors apart from public new housing and public other new work, which fell by 2.4% and 2.8% respectively.
- The monthly decrease in repair and maintenance (0.6%) in November 2020 was because of a 6.0% fall in private housing repair and maintenance, despite growth of 5.7% in public housing and 1.9% in non-housing repair and maintenance.
- Construction output grew by 12.4% in the three months to November 2020 compared with the previous three-month period, because of growth in both new work (11.9%) and repair and maintenance (13.2%).
Commenting on this morning’s, ONS construction output data Fraser Johns, finance director at Beard, said:
“For the first time we’re seeing output returning to pre-pandemic levels which is clearly cause for cheer, particularly as November was a lockdown month.
“In recording a seventh consecutive month of growth, the construction sector has bucked the national trend where the economy shrank overall during the period. But what is also encouraging is the reverse in the slow rate of growth that we’ve seen, going from 1.0% in October to 1.9% in November.
“But while we hope that the vaccine rollout and a Brexit trade deal in place should lead to less uncertainty broadly, we are still faced with new strains of the virus and a national lockdown, with the impact that has with schools closed and restrictions at every level.
“Realistically the fallout for businesses from Brexit could yet take months to fully understand which means an element of volatility in the short to medium term. However, the new business secretary’s open letter to the construction industry is welcome reassurance in this current period.
“As we now face several more weeks of lockdown, it’s clear that the construction sector has had to adapt but that keeping sites open and projects going was the right thing to do, for jobs and the wider economy.”
A LETTER TO CONSTRUCTION
To everyone working in the UK’s construction sector
On 4 January, the Prime Minister announced new national lockdown restrictions across the country to help us control and push back against the spread of a new variant of Covid-19. This brings new restrictions, including asking people to stay at home apart from essential travel.
As the new Business Secretary, I would like to take this opportunity to restate the Government position, which is that firms and tradespeople in the construction sector and its supply chain, including merchants, suppliers and product manufacturers, should continue to operate during this national lockdown. I would also like to make it clear that where it is essential to travel or to stay in accommodation, whether to get to your work or for the purposes of carrying out your work, those in the industry are able to do so. It is vital that construction continues through these unsettling times and I want to reassure you that the Government values the crucial contribution your sector is making.
Whether delivering on large or small construction sites, and in peoples’ homesacross the country, in builders’ merchants, designing and project managing schemes or producing construction and mineral products, you are making a major contribution to the economic recovery following Covid-19.
To help ensure that it is safe for you to operate whilst carrying out your work, the Construction Leadership Council has published the Site Operating Procedures (SOP)and Branch Operating Procedures, which reflect the latest guidance from Government. The Government and devolved administrations continue to update their safe working guidance which can be found on GOV.UK.
My Ministerial team and I are in regular contact with industry leaders about the risks, issues and challenges you face. Thank you again to everyone operating in the UK construction sector. You are making a hugely valued and critical contribution to our country.
THE RT HON KWASI KWARTENGMP,
Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy