Construction continued to grow during April according to the latest statistics from the Office of National Statistics, however, new orders fell when compared to the final quarter of 2013.
The seasonally adjusted estimate of construction output in April 2014 rose by 1.2% (£113 million) when compared with March 2014. There was a slight rise of 0.9% (£55 million) in new work and a larger increase of 1.6% (£57 million) in repair and maintenance.
The year-on-year picture is also one of growth. Compared with April 2013, construction output increased by 4.6%, all new work increased by 4.9% due to strong increases in new housing and private industrial work. Repair and maintenance increased by 4.2% over the same period.
The second estimate of GDP for Q1 2014 published last month included an estimate of construction growth of 0.6%. This has been revised up in this release to an increase of 1.5%, late survey data particularly for March 2014 is the cause of this revision.
Steve McGuckin, UK managing director of the global construction consultancy Turner & Townsend, said:”With such a big upward revision to the construction sector’s contribution to GDP growth, the industry can hold its head high. Its power to generate jobs and broader economic progress is undimmed, and construction growth has finally spread from the southeast to many other parts of the UK.
Construction new orders in Q1 2014 were estimated to be 6.3% lower than Q4. There were falls in orders for public new housing (-45.7%), infrastructure (-16.5%), private industrial (-14.6%) and private commercial work (-1.9%). Public other new work and private housing new orders both increased by 6.8% and 2.8% respectively.
The fall in public housing was the largest fall since the series began in 1964, However, the volume of new orders of public housing was not as low as in Q4 1990. A possible reason for the fall in public housing new orders is that investment in housing associations is coming from private investment rather than a public source.