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Construction output fell 1.1% during the first quarter of 2016 and was 1.9% lower than a year ago, according to official statistics published by ONS. The drop follows the weakening in project starts reported by Glenigan last year, with the earlier drop in projects starts reducing the volume of work currently underway on sites across the country. 

Repair & maintenance work saw the most marked weakening in output, slipping 1.1% against the previous quarter and being 1.9% down on a year ago. The decline was attributable to sharp declines in non-housing R&M and social housing RM&I work. 

Output on new build projects slipped 0.6% during the quarter and was just 1.3% down on a year earlier. New work activity was hit by a sharp falls in industrial and infrastructure work, which were respectively 13.9% and 8.1% down on a year ago. Public non-residential work was 2.6% lower. 

In contrast, residential construction has been a bright spot. Total new housing output increased by 4.8% in the quarter and was 3.4% up on a year ago. Although public sector housing activity improved during the quarter, private housing remains the main engine for growth. Private housing output during the quarter was 7.5% up on a year ago, offsetting a 14.3% drop in public new housing.

Construction Output

Construction Output Q1 2016

Source: Construction: Output & Employment – Office for National Statistics

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