Industry hails jump in construction workloads

Posted on 17 January 2022

​Industry experts have said a jump in construction output in late 2021 showed the sector is on an upward trend.

Workloads rose 3.5 per cent in November compared to October, with total activity in the month valued at £14.68bn. This was the highest monthly output since September 2019 and the first month that it has topped the £14.48bn recorded in February 2020, just before the pandemic struck the UK.

RSM partner and construction industry analyst Kelly Boorman said the latest figures supported the case that the recovery will pick up in 2022.

She said: “The November construction outputs, along with the momentum on the ground to get projects previously delayed started, suggest the construction sector is now on an upward trend back to pre-pandemic levels, with an ever-increasing pipeline of large infrastructure projects, repair and maintenance activity, and private residential demands remaining strong.”

All sectors recorded a rise in output in November, with infrastructure having the strongest month as activity jumped 11.4 per cent.

Scape chief executive Mark Robinson said the latest data showed the industry’s resilience, but warned that disruption cause by the pandemic was still a risk: “The impact of Omicron in exacerbating ongoing staff shortages means that the sector is likely to endure further disruption over the coming months,” he said.

Data released by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy this week showed that, in November, materials inflation had flattened for the first time since September 2020.

In spite of this easing of price rises, experts still expect industry prices to rise in 2022, with labour costs fuelling increases. Mace’s consulting business recently upped its forecast for 2022 and now expects tender prices to rise by around 4.5 per cent.

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