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Statistical bulletin: Output in the Construction Industry, November 2013 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 10 January 2014 Download PDF

Key Points

  • The seasonally adjusted estimate of construction output in November 2013 is estimated to have fallen by 4.0% (£395 million) when compared with October 2013. Both sub-sectors contributed to the monthly decline in growth with new work falling 3.9% (£240 million) and repair & maintenance by 4.2% (£155 million).
  • The main contribution to the 3.9% month on month decline in new work was due to a 7.1% (£140 million) decrease in private commercial other new work. Within new work there was also a 3.2% (£50 million) fall in private new housing and a 4.8% (£55 million) decrease in infrastructure.
  • When comparing November 2013 with October 2013 there were decreases in all sub-sectors of repair & maintenance contributing to the 4.2% (£155 million) fall. The largest sub-sector, non-housing repair & maintenance fell 3.9% (£75 million) while housing repair & maintenance fell 4.4% (£80 million).
  • Comparing the three months, September to November, with the previous three months, June to August, construction output grew by 0.7%. There were small increases in new work and repair & maintenance of 0.8% and 0.6% respectively.
  • Despite the month on month fall in November the longer term picture is one of growth with construction output estimated to have risen by 2.2% when comparing November 2013 with November 2012, the sixth consecutive month on a year ago increase. The 2.2% year on year increase in all work was due to a 3.2% increase in new work and a more modest 0.6% increase in repair and maintenance.
  • This longer term growth is confirmed when comparing the three months, September to November with the same three months twelve months ago. Over this period all work increased by 5.1%. The components of all work, new work and repair & maintenance, increased by 5.3% and 4.7% respectively.

Introduction

Construction output estimates are a short term indicator of construction output by the private sector and public corporations within Great Britain and are produced from a monthly survey of 8,000 businesses in Great Britain. The estimates are produced and published at current prices (including inflationary price effects) and at chained volume estimates (with inflationary effects removed) both seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted.

Detailed estimates along with a longer run of time series data are available to download in the Output in the Construction Industry, November 2013.

Further details on the newly published monthly seasonally adjusted series and the chained volume measures can be found in the ‘What’s new’ section of the output background notes.

The ‘Definitions and explanations’ section in the background notes of this bulletin includes additional information on items contained in this release.

Economic Context

Construction output is a component in the production approach to measuring gross domestic product (GDP), accounting for 6.3% of total GDP, based on 2010 weights. Due to the high value of construction in GDP and its stand alone status as a key economic indicator, the construction estimate is widely used by economists and industry specialists as an aid to economic interpretation and forecasting.

In November 2013, construction output slowed to an annual growth rate of 2.2%, down from 5.1% in the year to October 2013 (Figure 1). November’s monthly growth rate, a fall of 4.0%, was the sharpest contraction so far in 2013, and has contributed to the slowdown in annual growth since the increasing trend seen in the summer months. The latest data shows that the fall in construction output was broad based across sectors, with new work and repairs & maintenance both falling by around 4%.

The Bank of England’s Agents’ Summary of business conditions in December reflected that residential construction had strengthened in recent months, although commercial construction remained subdued. This is also mirrored by the longer term picture seen in ONS construction data, which show that levels of residential construction output lost during the economic downturn are being recovered at a faster pace than commercial construction.

In the 12 months to October 2013, UK house prices increased by 5.5%, an indication of growing demand for housing. This trend was also reflected in the Bank of England’s Credit Conditions Survey, which reported a significant increase in the demand for mortgage lending in Q4 2013. The stronger housing market in 2013 may have driven the growth in public and private housing construction, which increased by 10.1% and 13.8 % respectively in the first 11 months of 2013.

GDP growth for Q3 2013 was unrevised at 0.8%. Although the rate of construction growth has slowed in November, its performance from June to October has outperformed the production and services sectors, which have grown by 3.2% and 2.1% respectively in the year to October 2013.


More information on how construction output has fared during economic downturns can be found in the article ‘UK Construction Industry downturn in a historic context ’.

 

 

 

 

Output in the Construction Industry - November 2013

Figure 1: All work, monthly time series, chained volume measures, non-seasonally (NSA) and seasonally (SA) adjusted

Figure 1: All work, monthly time series, chained volume measures, non-seasonally (NSA) and seasonally (SA) adjusted
Source: Construction: Output & Employment - Office for National Statistics

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Comparing November 2013, with the same month 12 months ago, the output of construction increased by 2.2%, the sixth consecutive month on a year ago increase. In the short term construction output fell 4.0% when comparing November 2013 with October 2013. The month on month decline in construction output contains falls in seven out of the nine sub-sectors of construction output. 

Figure 2: All new work, monthly time series, chained volume measures, non-seasonally (NSA) and seasonally (SA) adjusted

Figure 2: All new work, monthly time series, chained volume measures, non-seasonally (NSA) and seasonally (SA) adjusted
Source: Construction: Output & Employment - Office for National Statistics

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All new work fell 3.9% in November 2013 when compared with October 2013 (Figure 2) mainly due to a 7.1% (£140 million) decrease in private commercial other new work. 

Figure 3: Repair & Maintenance, monthly time series, chained volume measures, non-seasonally (NSA) and seasonally (SA) adjusted

Figure 3: Repair & Maintenance, monthly time series, chained volume measures, non-seasonally (NSA) and seasonally (SA) adjusted
Source: Construction: Output & Employment - Office for National Statistics

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Repair & maintenance decreased 4.2% (£155 million) in November when compared with October (Figure 3). There were falls in all sub-sectors particularly in private new housing and infrastructure which decreased 3.2% (£50 million) and 4.8% (£55 million) respectively. 

Estimated to be £5,800 million, the output of new work remained 12.1% below its monthly peak of £6,600 million recorded in June 2011. However, when comparing new work for November with the lowest volumes recorded for each sub-sector, there were increases throughout all sectors, particularly new housing, which showed 37.4% growth when compared to its lowest volume recorded in January 2010.

Table 1 below shows the components of new work and their relative increases since their lowest recorded volumes.

Table 1: Component increase from lowest volume recorded

  New Housing   Other New Work   All
  Public Private Total Infras- Excluding Infrastructure   New
        tructure Public Private Private   Work
            Industrial Commercial  
% Increase from lowest volume 26.4 41.0 37.4 9.5 2.6 0.4 12.6 6.5
Current volume             402          1,510          1,912          1,081             789             235          1,805          5,822
Lowest volume 1  318           1,071          1,392             987             769             234          1,603          5,469
Date Jan 2013 Jan 2010 Jan 2010 Jun 2012 Dec 2012 Oct 2013 Sep 2012 Mar 2013
Highest volume 1 450 1,560 1,957 1,363 1,240 357 2,123 6,621
Date Mar 2011 Oct 2013 Oct 2013 Dec 2011 Feb 2011 Aug 2010 Sep 2011 Jun 2011

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Monthly time series data for these components began in January 2010.

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Table 2: Construction output summary tables, chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted

  Percentage change £million
  Most recent 3 months on a year earlier  Most recent 3 months on 3 months earlier  Most recent month on the same month a year ago Most recent month on the previous month Most recent level
   
Construction
Total All Work   5.1 0.7 2.2 -4.0 9,401
Total All New Work   5.3 0.8 3.2 -3.9 5,822
Total Repairs & Maintenance   4.7 0.6 0.6 -4.2 3,579
           
   
All New Work
 
Total All New Work   5.3 0.8 3.2 -3.9 5,822
New Housing            
Public Corporations   14.9 2.5 20.0 1.3 402
Private Sector   15.8 2.5 14.0 -3.2 1,510
Other New Work            
Infrastructure   -5.1 -2.3 -6.3 -4.8 1,081
Excl Infrastructure            
Public Corporations   -3.4 -0.8 -4.9 -0.4 789
Private Sector             
Private Sector - Industrial   -21.6 -7.4 -21.9 0.4 235
Private Sector - Commercial   11.5 2.7 6.4 -7.1 1,805
             
   
Repair & Maintenance
 
Total Repair & Maintenance   4.7 0.6 0.6 -4.2 3,579
Housing            
Public corporations   -6.9 1.1 -9.9 -6.3 554
Private sector   8.5 -1.5 3.8 -3.5 1,141
Non-Housing   6.5 1.8 2.1 -3.9 1,884
           

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Construction estimates in gross domestic product

Construction estimates are a key component of the output approach to measuring GDP along with the estimates of services, production and agriculture. As an aid to users, the short term releases that directly feed into GDP now include an additional table of GDP components. It is anticipated that this table will inform users of the relationship between the individual components which comprise GDP output. The publication dates and the quarterly growths of the individual GDP components are shown in Figure 5.

Table 3 shows the month 3 (September) output figures that fed into GDP for Q3 2013. Previous quarters are unrevised this month in accordance with the national accounts revisions policy.

Each component of GDP has a weight within GDP based on its value in 2011. Construction has a weight of 63 which means that it is 63 parts of the 1,000 that make up total GDP.

To determine the effect each component has on GDP multiply the component growth by its weight in GDP.

An example using Q2 2013 data:

Construction growth  = 1.9
Weight in GDP  = 0.063 (63/1000)
Effect on GDP  = 1.9 * 0.063 = 0.1197 or 0.1 to 1 decimal place (dp).

Revisions to components and the effect on GDP can be calculated using the same process. As a general rule there are no revisions to GDP when the component revisions are:

IoP = between 0.3 and -0.3
Construction = between 0.7 and -0.7
IoS = 0.0 (all values above or below 0.0 effect GDP due to the high weight of IoS in GDP).

Because;

IoP =    0.152*0.4 = 0.0608 or 0.1 to 1 dp 
Construction =  0.063*0.8 = 0.0504 or 0.1 to 1 dp
IoS =    0.778*0.1 = 0.0778 or 0.1 to 1 dp

Table 3: GDP component tables, chained volume measure, seasonally adjusted

        Percentage Change
Publication Weight in GDP Release date Latest period Most recent quarter on a year earlier  Most recent quarter on the previous quarter   Most recent month on the same month a year ago Most recent month on the previous month
GDP     1000 20 Dec Q3 1.5 0.8 : :
  Q2 1.3 0.6 : :
  Q1 0.2 0.4 : :
Index of Production   10 Jan Nov : : 2.5 0.0
152   Oct : : 3.2 0.3
  Q3 -0.1 0.6 : :
  Q2 -0.5 0.8 : :
  Q1 -2.3 0.6 : :
Construction output   10 Jan Nov : : 2.2 -4.0
63   Oct : : 5.1 2.0
  Q3 6.3 2.6  :  :
  Q2 1.5 2.6  :  :
  Q1 -4.6 -0.4  :  :
Index of Services 778 20 Dec Oct : : 2.1 0.1
  Q3 1.8 0.8 : :
  Q2 2.1 0.6 : :
  Q1 1.3 0.6 : :
Retail Sales   19 Dec Nov : : 2.0 0.3
    Oct : : 1.8 -0.9
    Q3 2.1 1.3 : :
    Q2 1.4 1.0  :  :
    Q1 -0.2 0.2  :  :
Agriculture 7 20 Dec Q3 -6.4 -3.2  :  :
  Q2 -3.3 2.0  :  :
  Q1 -7.2 -5.1  :  :

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Figure 4: GDP components, chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted (SA)

Figure 4: GDP components, chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted (SA)
Source: Construction: Output & Employment - Office for National Statistics

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Figure 4 shows the quarterly path for GDP and its components from Q1 2005. While it is apparent that all the components were severely affected by the economic downturn from 2008 it is clear that the downturn had a more pronounced effect on both production and construction. Production and construction have in fact gone through a second contraction. The production fall began in Q4 2010 and output fell to levels lower than those seen through the downturn, while construction fell slightly later, beginning its decline in Q2 2011 and reaching the low point of this second downturn in Q3 of 2012. Since this low point construction output has continued to improve and had increased 6% up to Q3 2013.

Background notes

  1. What’s new?
    In response to user feedback and in line with the announcement made in the article ‘Improvements to the methods used to compile Output in the Construction Industry statistics’, this statistical bulletin now contains monthly seasonally adjusted chained volume estimates. Due to the potential for confusion when comparing constant price (volume) and chained volume measures, all references to constant price series have been removed from this, and future bulletins. In line with the announcement made in previous bulletins the constant price series have also been removed from the associated time series dataset that accompanies this release.

    It should be noted that due to seasonal adjustment taking place on a short span of data points used to interpret the seasonal effects there is potential for increased revisions until the seasonal pattern is established within the time series.

    Please note that a monthly seasonally adjusted chained volume series is not available pre-2010. This is due to monthly data not being available for this period. These data are a requirement for creating previous year’s prices from which chain linked volume measures are created.

    In the December 2013 Construction Output release, which is published on 14 February 2014, the construction output estimates will be produced using the ONS CORD system which replaces the current production system. Users should be aware that there will be slight changes to the time series data due to the differences in statistical processing methods. One of the largest changes is the implementation of the seasonally adjusted data equalling the non-seasonally adjusted data annually which has forced changes to the quarterly series for all components. For users who require more information on the processing changes contact details are contained in the contacts section.

  2. About this release
    Construction output estimates are a short term indicator of construction output by private sector and public corporations within Great Britain. Output estimates are produced and published at current prices (including inflationary price effects) and at chained volume estimates (with inflationary effects removed) both seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted. Chained volume measures are also described as volume. Construction output is used in the compilation of the output approach to measuring gross domestic product (GDP).

    The data published in this release cover construction estimates for Great Britain. Construction output estimates for Northern Ireland can be obtained from the Central Survey Unit.

  3. Aligning the construction output revision period with National Accounts policy
    Figures for the most recent months are provisional and subject to revision in light of (a) late responses to the Monthly Business Survey MBS and (b) revisions to seasonal adjustment factors which are re-estimated every period.

    The construction output release for November 2013 has a revision period back to October 2013. National Accounts revision policy (27.8 Kb Pdf)  can be found on the National Statistics website.

  4. Statistical continuous improvement
    In December 2012, as part of its Statistical Continuous Improvement programme, ONS published a Review of Sample Design and Estimation Methodology for Construction Output. This report evaluated the sample design and estimation methods used on the Construction Output Survey. The conclusions of the review were that the current sample is performing well and that the current methodology for estimation within the survey produces the smallest standard error.

  5. Use of the data
    Output in the Construction Industry estimates are widely used both internally and externally and have been identified by legal requirement and user engagement surveys.

    The key users of data from the Output of the Construction Industry dataset are:

    • United Kingdom National Accounts.

    • Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, in order to comply with statutory legislation on short-term business statistics (STS). Short-term business statistics provide information on the economic development of four major domains: industry, construction, retail trade and other services.

    • Industry analysts requiring estimates of the construction industry output of Great Britain.

    • Trade associations making UK and international comparisons and to forecast trends in the construction industry.

    • Other government departments including; the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), HM Treasury (HMT), Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR).

    As well as being a key indicator of the performance of construction companies, the results of the survey also contribute to the estimate of the gross domestic product of the UK, contributing approximately 6.3% of GDP.

  6. Methods
    The ONS Monthly Construction Output Survey measures output from the construction industry in Great Britain. It samples 8,000 businesses, with all businesses employing over 100 people or with an annual turnover of more than £60m receiving a questionnaire by post every month. The results of the survey are deflated using price indices from the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and then seasonally adjusted using X-12 Arima to derive the published estimates.

  7. Quality
    The latest Quality and Methodology report (161.5 Kb Pdf) for the Output of the Construction Industry estimates can be found on the ONS website.

  8. Revisions
    In addition to 13 months of survey data revisions, a refinement to the seasonal pattern has caused slight revisions to the seasonally adjusted time series from Q1 2012. This publication shows data revisions for Q3 2013 in line with the national accounts revision policy explained previously.

    One indication of the reliability of the key indicators can be obtained by monitoring the size of revisions. Analysis of the previously published quarterly seasonally adjusted constant price series has shown that revisions to construction data are small. Generally these quarterly revisions are less than 1% when compared to the final revised period five quarters after initial publication. This indicates that the published estimates are a reliable snapshot of the output in the industry at the date of publication.

    Table 4 records the size and pattern of revisions which have occurred in the chained volume measures in the open period for revisions. Please note that these indicators only report summary measures for revisions. The revised data may be subject to sampling or other sources of error. Details about this revisions material can be found in the document ‘Revisions information in ONS First Release’.

    Table 4: Growth revisions to previously published CVM output

     
      New work published in this release New work estimates previously published New work revisions
    Oct 2013 1.8 2.4 -0.6
           
           
           
      R&M published in this release R&M estimates previously published R&M revisions
    Oct 2013 2.3 2.0 0.3
           
           
           
      Total output published in this release Total Output estimates previously published Total output revisions
    Oct 2013 2.0 2.2 -0.2

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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  9. Relevant links
    International Comparisons
    International construction comparisons are compiled by Eurostat. The estimates produced in this bulletin are included in these comparisons. Further information can be found on the Eurostat web page.

  10. Further information
    Releases on construction output and employment prior to the transfer to ONS can be found on the BIS website.

  11. User Engagement
    The user engagement section of the ONS website contains results of the survey held in April 2011 regarding users' satisfaction and use of the new orders and construction output surveys.

  12. GENERAL INFORMATION

    Understanding the data

    Interpreting the data
    When making comparisons it is recommended that users focus on chained volume measures or constant price (volume), seasonally adjusted estimates as these show underlying movements rather than seasonal movements.

    Construction output estimates are subject to revision because of:

    • Late responses to the Construction Output Survey.

    • Revisions to seasonally adjusted factors which are re-estimated every quarter.

    • Annual updating of the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) that forms the basis of the sampling for the Construction Output Survey. This occurs in January and can have an effect on the results published in May.

    Definitions of terminology found within the main statistical bulletin are detailed below:

    Output
    Output is defined as the amount chargeable to customers for building and civil engineering work done in the relevant period excluding VAT. As well as work charged to customers, businesses are asked to include the value of work done on their own initiative on buildings such as dwellings or offices for eventual sale or lease, and of work done by their own operatives on the construction and maintenance of their own premises. The value of goods made by businesses themselves and used in the work is also included.

    In all returns, work done by sub-contractors is excluded to avoid double counting, since sub-contractors are also sampled. Output does not include payments made to architects or consultants from other firms – this would also cover engineers and surveyors. It would include wages paid to such people if they were directly employed by the business.

    Current price (value) (CP)
    Current prices are the actual or estimated recorded monetary value over a defined period. They show the value for each item expressed in terms of the prices of that period.

    Constant price (volume) (KP)
    A constant price or volume measure is a series of economic data from successive years expressed in real terms by computing the production volume for each year in the prices of a reference year. The resultant time-series of production figures has the effects of price changes removed (that is, monetary inflation or deflation). In other words, from the raw data a series is obtained which reflects only production volume. See the ‘Deflation’ section. Constant price series in this bulletin are based on the reference year 2005.

    Chained volume measures (CVM)
    A chained volume series is a series of data from successive years, put in constant price terms by computing the production volume for each year in the prices of the preceding year, and then chain-linking the data together to obtain a time-series of production figures from which the effects of price changes (i.e., monetary inflation or deflation) have been removed. Further information on chain-linking can be found in the methodological article ‘Annual chain-linking’.

    Seasonal adjustment (SA)
    Seasonal adjustment aids interpretation by removing effects associated with the time of the year or the arrangement of the calendar, which could obscure movements of interest.

    Deflation
    It is common for the value of a group of financial transactions to be measured in several time periods. The values measured will include both the change in the volume sold and the effect of the change of prices over that year. Deflation is the process whereby the effect of price change is removed from a set of values. The current reference year is 2010 for CVM data.

    Sectors
    Institutional sectors are defined in the System of National Accounts (SNA) glossary as;
    Units that are grouped together to form institutional sectors on the basis of their principal functions, behaviour, and objectives.

    The resident institutional units that make up the total economy are grouped into five mutually exclusive sectors:

    • Non-financial corporations.

    • Financial corporations.

    • General government.

    • Non-profit institutions serving households.

    • Households.

    In the case of non-financial and financial sectors these can be further broken down into public sector, those units either controlled by the state or funded from the public purse and include general government, local authorities, housing associations and nationalised industries and private sector, those units controlled by private individuals or groups and not by the public sector.

    Gross domestic product (GDP)
    Gross domestic product (GDP) is an integral part of the UK national accounts and provides a measure of the total economic activity in a region.

    GDP is often referred to as one of the main 'summary indicators' of economic activity and references to 'growth in the economy' are quoting the growth in GDP during the latest quarter.

    Construction estimates are a component of GDP from the output or production approach (GDP(O)) which measures the sum of the value added created through the production of goods and services within the economy (our production or output as an economy). This approach provides the first estimate of GDP and can be used to show how much different industries (for example, agriculture) contribute within the economy.

    Housing
    Housing is generally defined as ‘all buildings that are constructed for residential use’. Within the public sector this classification includes construction items such as local authority housing schemes, hostels (except youth hostels), married quarters for the services and police; old peoples' homes; orphanages and children’s remand homes; and the provision within housing sites of roads and services for gases, water, electricity, sewage and drainage.

    Private sector housing includes all privately owned buildings for residential use, such as houses, flats and maisonettes, bungalows, cottages, vicarages, and the provision of services to new developments.

    Infrastructure
    Infrastructure is the generic term for the basic physical and organisational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society or enterprise. These construction items include buildings, roads, power supplies, etc.

    Other new work
    Other new work excludes the housing and infrastructure sectors. This classification includes construction items such as factories, warehouses, schools and offices, etc.

    Non-housing
    Within the public sector, non-housing is classified as the construction of building such as schools and colleges, hospitals, universities, fire stations, prisons and museums. Private sector non-housing is comprised of the private /industrial and private/commercial classifications. Private - industrial is the economic activity concerned with the processing of raw materials and manufacture of goods in factories and includes construction items such as factories and shipyards while private – commercial includes all items not included in the previous categories such as embassies, theatres, retail units, warehouses and garages, etc.

    Repair & maintenance
    The repair & maintenance heading in the construction estimates comprises of housing, infrastructure and other new work. This concerns work which is either repairing something that is broken, or maintaining it to an existing standard.  For housing output this includes repairs, maintenance, improvements, house/flat conversions, extensions, alterations and redecoration, etc. on existing housing. For non-housing this includes repairs, maintenance, redecoration, etc. on existing buildings/structures, which are not housing, for examples schools, offices, roads, shops.

    Table 2 of this bulletin aggregates infrastructure and other new work into non-housing.

  13. Code of Practice for Official Statistics
    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards which are set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs and are produced free from any political interference.

  14. Publication policy
    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the Media Relations Office.

  15. Accessing data
    The Output in the Construction Industry statistical bulletin and relevant time series datasets are available to download free from the Office for National Statistics website at 9.30 am on the day of publication.

    ONS allows a list of agreed officials to have access to data 24 hours before publication, which is available on the Construction release page.

  16. Further information and user feedback
    As a user of our statistics, we would welcome feedback on this release, in particular on the content, format and structure. For further information about this release, or to send feedback on our publications, please contact us using the following information.

  17. Contacts:

    Media contact:
    Tel Media Relations Office    +44 (0)845 6041858
     Emergency on-call    +44 (0)7867 906553
    Email  press.office@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    Contact us:
    Tel  +44 (0)845 601 3034
    Email  info@ons.gov.uk
    Website  ONS Website
    Twitter  ONS Twitter

  18. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Stuart Deneen +44 (0)1633 456344 Office for National Statistics construction.statistics@ons.gsi.gov.uk
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