According to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK construction output in Q4 rose by 0.2% compared with Q3 and was 4.4% higher than a year earlier.
“The latest construction output figures for Q4 indicate that activity rose for the third consecutive quarter for the first time since 2010,” stated Noble Francis, Economics Director at the Construction Products Association (CPA). “Although the quarterly increase was marginal, it provides further evidence for the continuing recovery in construction.”
The ONS report found that private housing was the key driver of the Q4 construction output growth, due to wider UK economic recovery and rises in housing demand from government policies, such as Help to Buy. Output in the sector increased 4.5% in Q4 compared with Q3, rose 19% compared with a year earlier and reached its highest level since 2008 Q2.
Construction output growth in Q4 was, according to Francis, “highly constrained” by work in the public sector and repair and maintenance. Activity in public non-housing, which primarily covers education and health, fell 3.8% compared with Q3 and was 2.8% lower than a year earlier due to the impact of austerity cuts.
Repair and maintenance output fell by 0.5% in Q4 compared with Q3. Although the sector is not high profile, it is still worth £10 billion each quarter and accounts for 37% of total construction. The fall in repair and maintenance had a large impact on the overall growth figure for construction.