Last edited 15 Mar 2021

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CIOB Institute / association Website

January 2021 construction output figures



[edit] Introduction

On 12 March 2021, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has responded to construction output figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In January 2021, construction output grew by 0.9%, a welcome growth from December 2020 where output fell by 2.9% for the first time since May 2020. Despite the gradual growth during 2020 and 2021, construction remained 2.6% below pre-coronavirus levels when comparing January 2021 to February 2020.

[edit] Sources of growth

The monthly growth in construction output was driven by new work (1.7%). This was primarily driven by new work in private commercial and infrastructure, which grew by 4.5% and 3.1%, respectfully.

This rise in new work helped offset the monthly decline of 0.4% in repair and maintenance, its third consecutive monthly fall. However, despite this, repair and maintenance continues to be 4.5% above pre-pandemic levels.

[edit] Observations on declines

While infrastructure and private commercial work contributed to new work for the sector in January 2021, it was worrying to see a continued decline in repair and maintenance activity, given that this type of work constitutes a key part of the Government's intention to use investment in the built environment to stimulate economic recovery and will be essential to decarbonising our built environment.

Construction saw some growth in January 2021, but the Government must ensure that plans are being put in place to promote growth in sectors, such as repair and maintenance, in order to aid in a quick recovery.

[edit] Reliance on support

Data shows that construction companies are still reliant on COVID-19 support schemes to retain workers and help keep sites open. At the end of January 2021, 244,100 construction workers remained furloughed, and 747,000 construction professionals had claimed from the self-employment income scheme (SEISS).

The Government made an announcement in the Spring 2021 Budget that it will extend these support schemes until September 2021. CIOB welcomes the continuation of support and as we move towards the UK’s four step plan out of lockdown. It anticipates the sector will continue to grow, but without the right support from Government, recovery could be slow.

This article originally appeared on the CIOB website under the headline, 'CIOB responds to construction output figures'. It was published on 12 March 2021.


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