Work load increases as material shortage eases

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Construction has bounced back to pre pandemic levels after a surge in new work in November with a 5.7% rise in new work that lifted overall construction output by 3.5%.

Despite a small decline in repair and maintenance workloads but an overall lift in activity above the February pre-pandemic high compared to workloads 12-months ago due to bad weather and material shortages.

In the booming construction market the total work is now running 1.3% above the February 2020 high.

The Office for National Statistics attributed the latest upbeat contractor workload returns to strong demand for work, in combination with supply chain bottlenecks for certain products easing and the unseasonal mild and dry weather.

Infrastructure new work and private housing new work were the largest contributors to the monthly rise in November, increasing by 11.4%  and 5.5% respectively.

Private housing repair and maintenance was the only sector to fall.

The major trend in the last three months showed growth had taken hold across most sectors with only commercial and public housing new work lagging behind in the broad industry recovery.

Different types of construction growth
Different types of construction growth

Renewable energy projects along with road and rail developments are contributing significantly to the large increase in this type of work over the last 18 months.

Private housing repair and maintenance was the only sector to have fallen, decreasing by 2.4%.

Group chief executive at public procurement body Scape, Mark Robinson, one of the UK’s leading public sector procurement authorities, commented saying that: “Further growth in the autumn, set against the context of the long-term inflation and labour supply challenges that characterised much of last year, clearly demonstrates the industry’s resilience.

“But, the impact of Omicron in exacerbating ongoing staff shortages means that the sector is likely to endure further disruption over the coming months.”

“Public sector construction will continue to make up a significant volume of the industry’s output.

“With the overhaul of the government’s procurement standards gathering pace, those looking to capitalise will need to invest heavily in their ability to deliver enhanced social value and meet the net-zero ambitions of clients in the sector.”