Construction output in Great Britain: March 2024, new orders and Construction Output Price Indices, January to March 2024

Short-term measures of output by the construction industry in March 2024, contracts awarded for new construction work in Great Britain and a summary of the Construction Output Price Indices (OPIs) in the UK for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2024.

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Cyswllt:
Email Construction statistics

Dyddiad y datganiad:
10 May 2024

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
12 June 2024

1. Main points

  • Monthly construction output is estimated to have decreased 0.4% in volume terms in March 2024; this came from decreases in both new work (0.7% fall) and repair and maintenance (0.1% fall). 

  • At the sector level, five out of the nine sectors saw a fall in March 2024, with the main contributors to the monthly decrease seen in infrastructure new work, and non-housing repair and maintenance, which decreased 3.6% and 2.4%, respectively.

  • Quarterly construction output saw a decrease of 0.9% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2024 compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2023; this came solely from a decrease in new work (1.8% fall), as repair and maintenance increased by 0.3%.

  • Total construction new orders increased 15.9% (£1,436 million) in Quarter 1 2024 compared with Quarter 4 2023; this quarterly increase came mainly from private commercial new work and public other new work, which increased 27.9% (£700 million) and 43.8% (£536 million), respectively.

  • The annual rate of construction output price growth was 1.5% in the 12 months to March 2024; this has slowed from the record annual price growth in May 2022 and June 2022 (10.7%).

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2. Construction output in March 2024

Quarterly construction output is estimated to have decreased 0.9% in volume terms in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2024. This follows the same level of fall (0.9%) in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2023. Both these quarters are the largest negative growth in the quarterly data series since Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2021 (1.8% fall).

Monthly construction output is estimated to have decreased 0.4% in volume terms in March 2024. This follows a downwardly revised fall of 2.0% (from negative 1.9%) in monthly construction output in February 2024.

Anecdotal evidence received from returns for the Monthly Business Survey for Construction and Allied Trades (MBS) suggested mixed effects of wet weather decreasing output, but improvement across some sectors within construction because of warmer weather. The Met Office confirmed in their Monthly climate summary (PDF, 4.56MB) that March 2024 was unsettled, wet and dull, and saw cooler weather give way to warmer weather during the month.

Quarter-on-quarter construction output growth in Quarter 1 2024

Construction output fell by 0.9% (£423 million) in Quarter 1 2024. The quarterly fall came solely from a decrease in new work (1.8%), as repair and maintenance saw an increase of 0.3%.

Quarter 1 2024 saw falls in both February 2024 and March 2024, with the only rise in January 2024. Anecdotal evidence suggested negative effects of adverse weather across February 2024 and March 2024, including heavy rainfall decreasing output and delaying work.

Of the nine sectors, seven saw decreases in Quarter 1 2024, with the largest contributors being non-housing repair and maintenance, and private commercial new work. These sectors decreased 3.3% (£331 million) and 5.3% (£310 million), respectively. The largest positive contributor was private housing repair and maintenance, which increased 4.9% (£394 million).

Month-on-month construction output growth in March 2024

The 0.4% fall in construction output in March 2024 represents a decrease of £64 million in monetary terms compared with February 2024, with five out of the nine sectors seeing a decrease on the month. The volume in March 2024 is the lowest level of construction output (£15,159 million) since June 2022 (£14,939 million).

Infrastructure new work, and non-housing repair and maintenance were the largest negative contributors to the monthly decrease in March 2024, decreasing 3.6% (£81 million) and 2.4% (£80 million), respectively.

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3. New orders in the construction industry in Quarter 1 2024

Total construction new orders increased by 15.9% (£1,436 million) in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2024, compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2023. This is the highest level of total construction new orders (£10,475 million) since Quarter 1 2023 (£10,791 million). More information can be found in our New orders in the construction industry dataset.

Other new work new orders (that is, non-housing) was the largest contributor to the increase in Quarter 1 2024, increasing by 25.3% (£1,565 million). This mainly came from private commercial new orders, which increased by 27.9% (£700 million) and was driven by increases in offices, health and entertainment. The other main contributor to the increase in other new work was public other new orders, which increased by 43.8% (£536 million).

Housing new orders saw a decrease of 4.5%. This came solely from public new housing, which decreased by 53.6% (£256 million), as private new housing saw an increase of 5.3% (£126 million).

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4. Construction output price indices in March 2024

Prices in the construction industry, as estimated by our Construction Output Price Index (OPI), increased to 1.5% in the 12-month period to March 2024. The rate of annual price growth has slowed from the record increases seen in May 2022 and June 2022 (10.7%).

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5. Construction in Great Britain data

Output in the construction industry
Dataset | Released 10 May 2024
Monthly construction output for Great Britain at current price and chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted by public and private sector. Quality measures, including response rates.

Output in the construction industry: sub-national and sub-sector
Dataset | Released 10 May 2024
Quarterly non-seasonally adjusted type of work and regional data at current prices, Great Britain.

Construction output price indices
Dataset | Released 10 May 2024
A summary of the Construction Output Price Indices (OPIs) from January 2014 to March 2024, UK.

New orders in the construction industry
Dataset | Released 10 May 2024
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 28 November 2023
The construction industry in Great Britain, including value of output and type of work, new orders by sector, number of firms and total employment.

Output in the Construction Industry – Customise my data
Dataset | Released 10 May 2024
Customise My Data (CMD) is our new way of providing filterable, explorable data suitable to individual user needs.

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6. 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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7. Measuring the data

Quality and methodology

More quality and methodology information (QMI) is available in:

Reasons for revisions to construction output in this release

This release contains revisions to construction output estimates from January 2024 onwards, and is consistent with the National Accounts Revisions Policy. Revisions in this release are a result of:

  • revisions in the nominal data; this includes revisions to the survey data

  • revisions to seasonal adjustment factors, which are re-estimated every month and reviewed annually

  • revisions to the input series for the Construction Output Price Indices (OPIs)

For further information on the revisions profile, see our Output in the construction industry revisions triangle (one-month growth) dataset and our Output in the construction industry revisions triangle (three-month growth) dataset.

Sub-national and sub-sector construction output

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. This is shown in Tables 1 and 2 of our Output in the construction Industry: sub-national and sub-sector dataset. More detail is available in our Quality assurance of administrative data used in construction statistics methodology.

Bias adjustment

Typically, since the move to monthly gross domestic product (GDP) estimates, an adjustment to address any bias in survey responses for construction output is applied to the early construction output monthly estimates. We show this in our Improvements to construction statistics: Addressing the bias in early estimates of construction output, June 2018 article.

The survey turnover response rate for March 2024 was 69.6%. This follows a response rate of 76.2% in February and 75.0% in January. As this is an improvement since the levels seen during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have therefore continued not to apply a bias adjustment while we review this approach in the future. More information on our response rates is available in our Output in the construction industry dataset.

Differences with monthly GDP construction estimates

In Blue Book 2021, we introduced a new framework to improve how we produce volume estimates of GDP for balanced years as part of the supply use process. This was explained in our Producing an alternative approach to GDP using experimental double deflation estimates article. This framework included the implementation of double-deflated industry-level gross value added (GVA) for the first time. This improvement was reflected in the GDP quarterly national accounts, UK: April to June 2021 bulletin and dataset and GDP monthly estimate, UK: August 2021 bulletin for the first time.

As a result, volume estimates in the monthly GDP and construction outputs releases will differ for the period 1997 to 2020. This is because the construction publication measures the volume of construction work (output), while the GDP series measures GVA (that is, output minus intermediate consumption). Construction estimates will align, but on a growth basis from January 2021 onwards.

Information and indicative effects of this change to industry-level GVA volume can be found in our Impact of double deflation on industry chain volume measure annual estimates article and our Impact of Blue Book 2021 changes on quarterly volume estimates of gross domestic product by industry article.

Publishing content review

This release is a full bulletin, following a number of previous headline-only releases. We are currently reviewing the content we publish and are trialling a system of a full bulletin release on quarter months, with headline-only releases on the other two months of each quarter. There will be no change to the accompanying data and we will continue to publish all our usual datasets every month. We will announce a decision in a future release and welcome any feedback at construction.statistics@ons.gov.uk.

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9. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), published 10 May 2024, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Construction output in Great Britain: March 2024, new orders and Construction Output Price Indices, January to March 2024.

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Construction statistics
construction.statistics@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 1633 456344