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Bad weather dampens construction output in February

Monthly construction output decreased by 0.1% to £14,610 million in volume terms in February 2022 compared with January 2022. This is the first monthly decrease since October 2021 (a fall of 0.9%) following three consecutive months of growth.

Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin bought heavy rain across much of Great Britain between 16 to 21 February 2022. For the construction industry, this caused delays and led to some projects being suspended because more working days were lost on site than normal for this time of the year. However, some businesses reported a positive impact as they picked up repair and maintenance work caused from storm damage.

Table 1:

Anecdotal evidence suggested some of the issues in sourcing construction products remained. High costs and shortages of materials, particularly for the smaller sized firms, are still mentioned.

Despite these challenges, demand continued to be strong. New orders in the construction industry grew by 9.2% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2021 compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2021. And, all sectors recovered to above their pre-coronavirus level.

The 0.1% decrease in construction output in February 2022 represents a fall of £17m compared with January 2022. Six out of the nine sectors saw a monthly decrease in February 2022.

Table 2:

Infrastructure new work and non-housing repair and maintenance were the largest contributions to the monthly decrease, decreasing 2.5% (£60m) and 0.9% (£25m) respectively.

The decrease in monthly growth in February 2022 in infrastructure new work is the sixth monthly decline out of the last seven months. This is despite infrastructure being the sector that is highest above its pre-coronavirus level (Table 1).

Public other new work, private housing new work and public housing repair and maintenance increased 10.5% (£74m), 0.5% (£17m) and 3.6% (£21m), respectively. The increase in public other new work follows three consecutive monthly falls.

At the start of 2022, price rises are continuing to have a noticeable downward impact in volume terms for monthly output growth. Table 3 shows this by comparing monthly growth in value terms (the impact of price changes included) with volume terms (the impact of price changes removed). They are both on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Table 3:

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