Construction output was off to a good start this year – outperforming the overall economy in January 2021 despite the disappointing entrance into a third national lockdown.
The sector grew by 0.9% in the month-on-month all work series, projecting a rise to £13,639 million according to the Office for National Statistics.
This promising return to monthly growth follows the 2.9% fall in December 2020. Prior to this there were seven consecutive periods of monthly growth.
However, this is still 2.6% below the pre-COVID February 2020 level. The level of new work was 6.4% below this whilst repair and maintenance work was 4.5% above, undeterred by a monthly fall.
New work increased by 1.7% and was heavily driven by the private commercial and infrastructure sector.
UK Landscape Barometer research proved that commercial landscaping projects were around 75% higher in December 2020, with projects and conversion work taking the lead in Scotland and the North.
Matthew Selby, commercial director at Essex based Oak View Landscapes, stated that they are looking at taking on more staff due to the increase in work production.
One of the reasons is the current stamp duty freeze. Matthew comments:
“The stamp duty freeze and being able to work during a pandemic has been a big accelerant in terms of the production on construction sites. People are wanting to move out of towns and cities to upscale their homes and have bigger gardens as many are spending more time at home.”
The construction industry may continue to see a rise over the next months, especially with the planned lifting of lockdown restrictions and vaccine success. As spring is round the corner there is no immediate sign of things slowing down. However, the industry is aware that a slow down is predicted and therefore making the most of the current climate is essential.