UK construction output dips for fifth consecutive month

construction-stockConstruction output across the UK fell more than expected in May, adding to concerns that the economy is in line for a sharp slowdown following the vote to quit the European Union.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that a drop in housebuilding caused the industry to decline for the fifth consecutive month.

According to the statistics, output fell 1.9 per cent year-on-year and 2.1 per cent in May compared with April.

When examining the three months (March, April, May 2016), output had fallen 2.1 per cent when compared to the previous three months (December, January, February).

The three months were also down 1.7 per cent on the same three months period in 2015.

Except for infrastructure, all other new work and repair and maintenance reported decreases, falling by 2.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively.

The main contribution to the decrease came from private new housing which fell 3.5 per cent between the fourth and fifth months of the year, while overall new housing also fell 3.2 per cent.

However, Derek Shewan, chief operating officer of Robertson Group, said that despite the decrease in output, his firm remains “resilient”.

“While the figures reveal a decrease in output in the wider industry, Robertson Group remains resilient during this drop,” he said.

“With 19 individual and diverse businesses that encompass the entire built environment lifecycle, it is our focus on innovation, productivity and business sustainability that help us through these challenging times.”

Allan Callaghan, managing director of Cruden Building & Renewals, said he remains cautiously optimistic.

He added: “While disappointing, we must remember these figures came during a time where the UK had faced a continued period of political and wider economic uncertainty. With last’s month’s decision to leave the European Union ending months’ of speculation, now is the time to take stock of the situation and review what it will mean for the construction and housebuilding sectors over the coming months.

“The sector by its very nature is adaptable, flexible and resilient having faced many challenges along the way. Cruden continues to strive forward with our planned activity and we continue to see significant demands in all our developments up and down the country.

“I am confident that Scotland’s housebuilding industry has the skills and forward thinking approach to continue its vital support of the wider economy, supporting future ONS figures as it does so.”

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