A number of construction sites across the UK have ground to a halt due to heavy snow, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

With snow continuing to fall, weather warnings from the Met Office are in place in many parts of the country. Police are now alerting people across UK and Ireland to avoid all travel – including commuting – during blizzards and strong winds.

Sarah McMonagle, Director of External Affairs at the FMB, said “Heavy snow showers have led to many construction sites across the UK grinding to a halt. Some construction bosses have told their staff to take the rest of the week off and not return to work until Monday. But it’s not just the snow that’s playing havoc with construction projects – some firms are reporting that the freezing temperatures mean it’s too cold to lay bricks. The overall impact of bad weather on construction growth remains to be seen but this situation is concerning given that the FMB’s latest research shows that growth among construction SMEs slowed in the final three months of 2017. We hope that the cold weather we have seen this week is just a blip and that all workers will be able to get back on site in coming days.”

New construction activity contracted by 14% during the final quarter of 2015 on a year earlier, according to figures released today (14th January) by industry analysts Glenigan.

The value of new work starting on site fell across the residential, non-residential and civil engineering sectors of the industry. Over 2015 as a whole, starts were down 4%, with both non-residential and civil engineering sectors having declined. This is the first annual decline recorded by Glenigan since 2009, and follows growth of 10% in 2014.

In fact only a handful of sectors saw rises in project starts during 2015. These were the private housing, industrial, education and utilities sectors.

Glenigan’s monthly index of project starts had already fallen into negative territory during the three months to November, but the extreme weather conditions in December have brought a starker pace of decline.

Commenting on this month’s figures, Allan Wilén, Glenigan’s Economics Director, said: “The wettest December on record has added to the industry’s woes. Moreover sites will stay waterlogged for some time, hindering starts in the new year.”

“We expect the upcoming output figures to reveal another quarterly decline in construction activity. The lack of new projects starting in 2015 will cause a New Year hangover for growth in early 2016.”

Glenigan’s data suggests a lack of confidence among the construction industry’s clients. The value of work receiving detailed planning approval* increased by 15% in 2015, but this has failed to translate into workers on site.

Mr. Wilén concluded: “There is a significant pipeline in place to fuel construction growth in 2016. However clients are currently not pressing ahead with planned schemes at the same rate we witnessed during 2014.”

The Midlands and Northern regions of England fared best during 2015. The East Midlands, East of England and North East of England were the only three parts of the UK to record growth over the year, though declines across the other Northern and Midlands regions were modest. In London, Southern England and Scotland the decline in new work has been more stark. The value of starts fell by 11% in the Capital in 2015.