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Construction officially recovers from COVID-19 fall

Construction output grew by 5.8% in March 2021 compared with February 2021. This lifts work to be above the pre-pandemic level recorded last February.

Following monthly growth in March 2021, the level of construction output recovered to 2.4% above its pre-pandemic February 2020 level.

The strong growth in activity in March was driven by both new work (6.7%) and repair and maintenance work (4.4%).

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the level of construction output in March 2021 was £14,251m. This is the highest since September 2019 when it was £14,381m.

New orders increased by 12.2% (£1,227 million) in Quarter 1 2021 compared with Quarter 4 2020; this follows a fall of 7.8% (£848 million) in Quarter 4 2020 but was 13.3% lower than Quarter 1 2020.

Fraser Johns, beard financial director, said: “The construction industry has come through the biggest economic shock since the second world war, with continuing levels of growth getting us back to pre-pandemic levels in March.”

An increase in demand and confidence boosted by the vaccine rollout and a roadmap out the crisis has played its part. Now the challenge is to build on that success by ensuring we attract the talented professionals required to take our industry forward.

“But in the short term we also have a significant challenge to face in terms of materials shortages, which in many areas is verging on a crisis. As an industry we have to find ways to work around and plan ahead with supply chains to mitigate any serious delays, otherwise we’re in real danger of undermining our comeback from ground zero a year ago.”

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