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Construction output accelerates in 'encouraging' Q3

Construction activity rose by 2.1 per cent in the three months to September according to the Office for National Statistics, having built momentum after a poor start to the year.

The acceleration in output follows the slight increase of 0.8 per cent recorded for Q2, which came after a 1.6 per cent decline in Q1.

Q3’s growth was driven by new work, which increased by 2.8 per cent, with repair and maintenance work rising by 1 per cent.

According to the ONS, the level of all work for September 2018 reached £13.9bn – the highest monthly figure since the series began in 2010.

Within this, new work stood at £9.2bn while repair and maintenance accounted for the remaining £4.7bn.

For the three months to September, private new housing output rose by 5.7 per cent to £3.1bn, infrastructure grew 3.8 per cent to £1.8bn and new public housing increased by 12.1 per cent to £596m.

Clive Docwra, managing director of construction consultant McBains, said: “Today’s figures are encouraging and show that the industry is building some momentum – with three-month on three-month growth recorded again.”

“However, issues such as Brexit and the high cost of imported materials are still hanging over the sector and holding back key investment decisions.

“Recruitment is also a growing issue, with wages of scarce skilled tradespeople continuing to rise and the future status of EU-workers in the UK still unclear beyond March 2019.”

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