Construction output in Great Britain: April 2021

Short-term measures of output by the construction industry in Great Britain and contracts awarded for new construction work in the UK.

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Cyswllt:
Email John Allcoat

Dyddiad y datganiad:
11 June 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
9 July 2021

1. Main points

  • Construction output fell 2.0% in April 2021 following a particularly strong increase in March (5.8%), and output now stands slightly above its pre-pandemic February 2020 level; new work continues to be subdued but the level of repair and maintenance is stronger.

  • Monthly construction fell by 2.0% in April 2021 because of declines in both new work (2.9%) and repair and maintenance (0.6%).

  • The level of construction output in April 2021 remains 0.3% above the February 2020 pre-pandemic level despite the monthly fall; while new work was 3.4% below the February 2020 level, repair and maintenance work remains 7.1% above the February 2020 level.

  • In contrast to the monthly fall, construction output grew by 5.1% in the three months to April 2021 compared with the previous three-month period, because of a 5.2% increase in new work and 4.9% increase in repair and maintenance.

  • The increase in new work (5.2%) in the three months to April 2021 was because of growth in all new work sectors apart from private industrial, which fell by 3.6%; the largest contributor to this growth was private commercial new work, which grew by 7.4%.

  • The increase in repair and maintenance (4.9%) in the three months to April 2021 was because of growth in non-housing and private housing repair and maintenance, which grew by 6.2% and 6.6% respectively.

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2. Construction output in April 2021

Monthly construction output fell by 2.0% in April 2021 compared with March 2021, falling to £13,961 million, and was the first month-on-month fall since December 2020 when output fell by 2.2%.

This follows comparatively strong growth of 5.8% in March 2021. Anecdotal evidence received from survey returns suggested increased new work, delayed projects returning to sites, and a general increase in demand and confidence across the industry, as well as unusually warm weather were contributing factors to the large monthly increase in construction output in March 2021.

Despite the 2.0% fall in April 2021, the level of construction output remains 0.3% (£44 million) above its February 2020 pre-pandemic level, with a mixed profile of recovery at type of work level (Table 1).

While repair and maintenance was 7.1% (£348 million) above the February 2020 level, new work is yet to recover fully and remains 3.4% (£305 million) below it. Infrastructure is the only new work sector to have recovered above its February 2020 pre-pandemic level, at 21.2% (£386 million) above it.

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3. Detailed growth rates

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4. Month-on-month construction output growth in April 2021

The 2.0% fall in construction output in April 2021 represents a fall of £290 million in monetary terms compared with March 2021, which was the first monthly fall in output since December 2020 when it fell £291 million (2.2%).

New work fell by 2.9% (£261 million) in April 2021 compared with March 2021, which was the first fall since December 2020 when it fell by 3.4% (£290 million). Private new housing was the largest contributor to the monthly decline, falling by 11.1% (£352 million), which was the largest decline since April 2020 when it fell by a record 59.1% (£1,714 million).

Private housing repair and maintenance and private commercial new work also saw large month-on-month falls of 7.1% (£144 million) and 6.2% (£134 million) respectively. As shown in Figure 6, the three largest contributors to the monthly decline in April 2021 all saw strong growth in March 2021.

Repair and maintenance work fell by 0.6% (£29 million) in April 2021 which was the first fall since January 2021 when it fell by 0.4% (£18 million). Private housing repair and maintenance drove the monthly decline in repair and maintenance falling by 7.1% (£144 million). In comparison, non-housing repair and maintenance grew by 4.6% (£120 million), which was the largest growth since July 2020 when it grew by 10.7% (£234 million).

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5. Three-month on three-month construction output growth in April 2021

Construction output grew by 5.1% (£2,005 million) in the three months to April 2021, which was the highest growth since November 2020 when construction output grew by 10.2% (£3,693 million). Outside of August 2020 to November 2020 this is the largest growth in the three-month on three-month series since monthly records began in January 2010.

New work grew by 5.2% (£1,283 million) in the three months to April 2021, the largest contributor to which was private commercial new work which grew by 7.4% (£427 million). Private industrial work was the only new work sector to decline in the three months to April 2021, falling by 3.6% (£38 million).

Repair and maintenance grew by 4.9% (£720 million) in the three months to April 2021. This was because of growth in both non-housing repair and maintenance, which grew by 6.2% (£457 million), and private housing repair and maintenance which grew by 6.6% (£358 million).

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6. Construction in Great Britain data

Output in the construction industry: sub-national and sub-sector
Dataset | Released 12 May 2021
Quarterly non-seasonally adjusted sub-national and sub-sector data at current prices, Great Britain.

Construction output price indices
Dataset | Released 12 May 2021
Monthly construction Output Price Indices (OPIs) from July 2016 to March 2021, UK.

New orders in the construction industry
Dataset | Released 12 May 2021
Quarterly new orders at current price and chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted by public and private sector. Quarterly non-seasonally adjusted type of work and regional data.

Construction statistics annual tables
Dataset | Released 21 January 2021
The construction industry in Great Britain, including value of output and type of work, new orders by sector, number of firms and total employment.

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7. Glossary

Construction output estimates

Construction output estimates are monthly estimates of the amount of output chargeable to customers for building and civil engineering work done in the relevant period, excluding Value Added Tax (VAT) and payments to subcontractors.

Seasonally adjusted estimates

Seasonally adjusted estimates are derived by estimating and removing calendar effects (for example, leap years such as 2020) and seasonal effects (for example, decreased activity at Christmas because of site shutdowns) from the non-seasonally adjusted estimates.

Value estimates

The value estimates reflect the total value of work that businesses have completed over a reference month.

Volume estimates

The volume estimates are calculated by taking the value estimates and adjusting to remove the impact of price changes.

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8. Measuring the data

Construction output data collection

Our monthly Construction Output Survey measures output from the construction industry in Great Britain. The survey samples 8,000 businesses. All businesses employing over 100 people, or with an annual turnover of more than £60 million, receive an online questionnaire every month.

Data on new orders supplied by Barbour ABI are used to model the breakdown of the overall output figures for Great Britain into the lower level and regional data seen in Tables 1 and 2 of Construction output: sub-national and sub-sector.

Quality and methodology

More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in:

Revisions to construction output

In this release no revisions have been made to construction output data prior to April 2021.

Blue Book 2021

In Blue Book 2021 a new framework will be introduced to improve how we produce volume estimates of GDP for balanced years as part of the supply use process. This framework includes the implementation of double-deflated industry-level gross value added for the first time. This improvement will be reflected in the September quarterly national accounts and October monthly GDP estimates. On 28 June we will publish Blue Book 2021 indicative impacts of this change to industry-level gross value added volume.

Estimates for the construction industry from this new approach will differ to those published in this construction output release as they account for both the outputs produced and inputs consumed by the industry. There are also some coverage differences given the use of the Annual Business Survey in their compilation.

Consultation to the release time

The Office for Statistics Regulation currently has a consultation to get feedback as to the release time of these statistics. This consultation closes on June 25 2021. If you have any comments about the release time of official statistics, please contact the OSR regulation@statistics.gov.uk.

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9. Strengths and limitations

Data quality

These estimates are widely used by private and public sector institutions to assist in informed decision-making and policymaking. Construction output is an important economic indicator and is used in the compilation of the output measure of gross domestic product (GDP).

Further information on Uncertainty and how we measure it for our surveys is available.

Comparability

While monthly data are available for output in the construction industry back to January 2010, a longer time series back to 1997 can be obtained in the monthly GDP datasets, Monthly GDP and main sectors to four decimal places and Monthly gross domestic product: time series.

Monthly data prior to 2010 are derived using statistical methods from the available quarterly construction output data and should therefore be treated with some caution.

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

John Allcoat
construction.statistics@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 456344