Growth in monthly construction output slowed to 3% in August, following record monthly growth of 17.2% in July.
The level of construction output in August 2020 remains 10.8% below the February 2020 level, according to the latest ONS (Office for National Statistics) figures, despite a strong showing for new private housing.
Construction output grew by a record 18.5% in the three months to August 2020 compared with the previous three-month period, following 10 consecutive periods of decline.
This growth was driven by record three-month-on-three-month growth in both new work and repair and maintenance.
The 17.5% increase in new work in the three months to August 2020 was due to an increase in all new-work sectors, save private industrial, which fell by 6.5%.
The largest contributor to the growth was private new housing, which grew by a 34.9%.
The 20.3% boost in repair and maintenance was due to growth in all repair and maintenance sectors.
The largest contributor here was private housing repair and maintenance, which grew by 35.6%.
Despite these figures, Clive Docwra, managing director at McBains, said there was a reluctance among investors to invest in new projects.
“The unpredictability around further lockdowns is causing private commercial investors to remain cautious of committing to new developments,” he said.
“The government needs to ramp up its public infrastructure programme and speed up procurement to help tide the sector over while this fragility persists.”
Also commenting on the ONS figures, Mark Robinson, chief executive at Scape Group, said: “Confirmation of further growth will hearten many in the industry whose determination continues to keep order books healthy, albeit below pre-COVID levels.
“However, the overall economic outlook remains ominous, and construction will be expected to drive the ongoing recovery as other sectors regroup and evolve as government support recedes.
“The UK’s strategy is clearly in line with that of the IMF and will continue to use historically low interest rates to invest in public infrastructure that will create jobs and accelerate towards a green recovery and an economy fighting fit for the future.
“If, however, we’re to capitalise on this influx of central funding, contractors and public sector organisations must do all they can to get spades in the ground quickly.”
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