ONS records largest dip in construction output for five years
The three-month on three-month decrease represents the largest fall in output recorded by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) since September 2012, driven by falls in both repair and maintenance, and all new work.
The main downward pressure on month-on-month growth came from all new work, most notably from infrastructure, which fell 4.0% following strong growth in April 2017.
Construction output also fell month-on-year, falling by 0.3% in May 2017, the first consecutive month-on-year decrease in output since May 2013.
The ONS has now revised construction output growth for April 2017 upwards by 0.5 percentage points from minus 1.6% to minus 1.1%.
Despite the dip in output, the Scottish division of partnership housing developer Lovell said May was “a particularly busy month” for the firm.
Commenting on the figures, regional managing director for Lovell in Scotland, Stephen Profili, said: “May was a particularly busy month for Lovell in Scotland with a total of 23 separate projects underway located throughout the central belt. These included three sites that reached completion during that month and a further two projects that completed pre-construction and moved into the proper building phase.
“Overall construction output figures show a mixed picture but the underlying performance of the new housebuilding sector of the industry gives us continued reason to be optimistic about the outlook for the remainder of 2017. Lovell remains on track to complete more new homes this year than in any previous year, the majority of which will be affordable housing.”
Likewise, Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building & Renewals, added: “A dip in output is disappointing, but the housebuilding sector is resilient and continues to make a strong contribution to the construction industry.
“With the changes to the Scottish Government’s planning system coming into effect just last month, I hope that the substantial increases in fees are reinvested into planning services, leading to greater performance and output.
“We need an effective and delivery-focused planning service that allows house builders and developers to keep building the new homes that Scotland desperately needs and drives greater investment, growth and jobs.”