Construction output in Great Britain: April 2022

Short-term measures of output in the construction industry.

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Contact:
Email John Allcoat

Release date:
13 June 2022

Next release:
13 July 2022

1. Main points

  • Monthly construction output decreased by 0.4% in volume terms in April 2022; this is the first monthly decline seen since October 2021.

  • The decrease in monthly construction output in April 2022 came from a fall in repair and maintenance (2.4%), which was offset slightly by a rise in new work (0.9%); the fall is partly a by-product of the growth (3.0%) in March 2022, because of the demand caused by the repair work experienced from storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin in February 2022.

  • At the sector level, the main contributors to the decline in April 2022 were private housing repair and maintenance, and private commercial new work, which decreased by 6.5% and 3.8%, respectively.
  • Despite the monthly fall, the level of construction output in April 2022 was 3.3% (£481 million) above the February 2020 pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level; new work was 0.7% (£68 million) below, while repair and maintenance work was 11.0% (£549 million) above.

  • The recovery to date, since the falls at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, is mixed at a sector level, with infrastructure 35.6% (£669 million) above and private commercial 27.2% (£676 million) below their respective February 2020 levels in April 2022.

  • Despite the monthly decrease, construction output increased 2.9% in the three months to April 2022; this is the sixth consecutive growth in the three-month on three-month series, with increases seen in both new work and repair and maintenance (2.2% and 4.0%, respectively).

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Estimates for April 2022 are subject to more uncertainty than usual because of challenges we have faced with data collection. This has led to lower response rates than those seen before the coronavirus pandemic.

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2. Construction output in April 2022

Monthly construction output decreased by 0.4%, in volume terms, to £14,936 million in April 2022 compared with March 2022. This is the first monthly decrease since October 2021 (a fall of 0.9%) following five consecutive months of growth. It should be noted, however, that the monthly decrease in April 2022 is coming off the record monthly level of £14,994 million, since monthly records began in January 2010.

Storms Dudley, Eunice and Franklin bought heavy rain across much of Great Britain between 16 to 21 February 2022, as detailed in the Met Office's February 2022 release. Anecdotal evidence received from businesses for March 2022 reported a positive impact, as a number of businesses picked up repair and maintenance work caused by storm damage. In April 2022, we can now see the fallback from repair and maintenance work carried out in March 2022 because of this storm damage, with a monthly decrease of 2.4%.

Anecdotal evidence from returns received for both our Monthly Business Survey for Construction and Allied Trades and our Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) suggested some of the issues in sourcing certain construction products remained. High costs of products (such as concrete and timber), shortages of materials, particularly for smaller-sized firms, and higher fuel, are still mentioned.

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3. Detailed growth rates

Month-on-month construction output growth in April 2022

The 0.4% decrease in construction output in April 2022 represents a fall of £58 million in monetary terms, compared with March 2022. Four out of the nine sectors saw a decrease.

Private housing repair and maintenance, and private commercial new work were the largest contributions to the monthly decrease in April 2022, decreasing by 6.5% (£143 million) and 3.8% (£72 million), respectively.

The decrease in private housing repair and maintenance comes after a strong 5.8% monthly increase in March 2022. Anecdotal evidence gathered over March 2022 suggested the increase seen in private housing repair and maintenance was a result of businesses stating they saw a higher workload in March 2022. This was because of the repair work needed from the storms in February 2022. We are now seeing the fall back from this in April 2022.

Similarly,the fall in private commercial new work in April 2022 is partly a by-product of the strong growth (4.0%) seen in March 2022.

Three-month on three-month construction output growth in April 2022

Construction output rose 2.9% (£1,257 million) in the three months to April 2022, this is the sixth consecutive increase in the three-month on three-month series. Increases in both new work (2.2%), and repair and maintenance (4.0%) contributed to the growth, with eight out of the nine  sectors seeing an increase.

Private housing new work, and non-housing repair and maintenance were the largest contributions to the three-monthly rise, increasing by 2.5% (£238 million) and 5.8% (£464 million), respectively.

In contrast to its monthly increase in April 2022, infrastructure new work was the only sector to have seen a fall in the three months to April 2022, decreasing by 0.6% (£42 million).

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4. Construction output in Great Britain: April 2022 data

Output in the construction industry
Dataset | Released 13 June 2022
Monthly construction output for Great Britain at current price and chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted by public and private sector.

Output in the construction industry: sub-national and sub-sector
Dataset | Released 12 May 2022
Quarterly non-seasonally adjusted sub-national and sub-sector data at current prices, Great Britain.

Construction output price indices
Dataset | Released 12 May 2022
Monthly construction Output Price Indices (OPIs) by type of construction work, UK.

New orders in the construction industry
Dataset | Released 12 May 2022
Quarterly new orders at current price and chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted by public and private sector. Quarterly non-seasonally adjusted type of work and regional data.

Construction statistics annual tables
Dataset | Released 19 October 2021
The construction industry in Great Britain, including value of output and type of work, new orders by sector, number of firms and total employment.

Output in the Construction Industry -- Customise my data
Dataset | Released 13 June 2022
Customise My Data (CMD) is the Office for National Statistics' (ONS') new way of providing filterable, explorable data suitable to individual user needs.

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5. Glossary

Construction output estimates

Construction output estimates are monthly estimates of the amount of output chargeable to customers for building and civil engineering work done in the relevant period. This excludes Value Added Tax (VAT) and payments to subcontractors.

Seasonally adjusted estimates

Seasonally adjusted estimates are derived by estimating and removing calendar effects (for example, leap years such as 2020) and seasonal effects (for example, decreased activity at Christmas because of site shutdowns) from the non-seasonally adjusted estimates.

Value estimates

The value estimates reflect the total value of work that businesses have completed over a reference month.

Volume estimates

The volume estimates are calculated by taking the value estimates and adjusting to remove the impact of price changes.

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6. Measuring the data

Quality and methodology

For more quality and methodology information, see our Construction output QMI published 8 August 2019, and our Construction output price indices QMI published 1 October 2018.

Sub-national and sub-sector output

Data on new orders supplied by Barbour ABI are used to model the breakdown of the overall output figures for Great Britain. This is into the lower level and regional data seen in Tables 1 and 2 of our Construction output: sub-national and sub-sector dataset published 12 May 2022. 

For more information on the data supplied by Barbour ABI, see our Quality assurance of administrative data used in construction statistics methodology published 12 March 2018.

Revisions

In this release, no revisions have been made to construction output data prior to April 2022.

The next Construction Output in Great Britain release on 13 July 2022 will see revisions to the periods January to April 2022, in line with the National Accounts Revision Policy. These revisions will be consistent with our Gross domestic product (GDP) quarterly national accounts, UK : January to March 2022 release, due to be published 30 June 2022. 

Accessibility of construction output datasets

We have been reviewing new accessibility of datasets legislation from The Public Sector Bodies Accessibility Regulations 2018. We have now updated all releases in our related datasets. If anyone has any feedback on the new layout, please feel free to email us at construction.statistics@ons.gov.uk

Consultation on release practices

The Office for Statistics Regulation has finalised its Consultation on the Code of Practice for Statistics. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has welcomed the findings. Specifically noting that the release-time exemptions, which were granted during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, are now incorporated into the revised Code of Practice. As such, the output in the construction industry will continue to be published at 7am.

Bias adjustment

Typically, since the move to monthly GDP estimates, an adjustment to address any bias in survey responses for construction output is applied to the early construction output monthly estimates. For more information, see our Improvements to construction statistics: Addressing the bias in early estimates of construction output, June 2018 article.

The response rate for April 2022 is slightly lower. There was a 70.9% turnover response compared with a normal turnover response of approximately 79% for April. Because of this, no comparable historical data are available at the time of the first estimate for a reference month. Therefore, we have not applied a bias adjustment for April 2022.

Blue Book 2021

In Blue Book 2021, a new framework was introduced to improve how we produce volume estimates of GDP for balanced years as part of the supply use process. This framework included the implementation of double-deflated industry-level gross value added (GVA) for the first time. This improvement was reflected in our GDP quarterly national accounts, UK: April to June 2021 and our GDP monthly estimate, UK: August 2021 for the first time.

As a result, volume estimates in the monthly GDP and construction outputs releases will differ for the period 1997 to 2019. This is because the construction publication measures the volume of construction work (output), while the GDP series measures GVA (that is, output minus intermediate consumption). Construction estimates will align, however, from January 2020 onwards on a growth basis.

For more information and indicative effects of this change to industry-level GVA volume, see our Impact of double deflation on industry chain volume measure annual estimates published 28 June 2021. Also, see our Impact of Blue Book 2021 changes on quarterly volume estimates of gross domestic product by industry published 8 September 2021.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

John Allcoat
construction.statistics@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 1633 456344