Construction output in Great Britain: May 2023

Short-term measures of output by construction industry in May 2023 and contracts awarded for new construction work in Great Britain.

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13 July 2023

This release has a headline only format and is accompanied by our full datasets, for more information please see Section 4.

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Release date:
13 July 2023

Next release:
11 August 2023

1. Main points

  • Monthly construction output is estimated to have decreased 0.2% in volume terms in May 2023; this is the third consecutive fall in the month-on-month series, with the monthly value in level terms at £15,360 million.

  • The decrease in monthly output came solely from a decrease in new work (0.4% fall), with repair and maintenance being flat (0.0%) on the month. 

  • At the sector level, four out of the nine sectors saw a fall in May 2023, with the main contributors to the monthly decrease seen in non-housing repair and maintenance and private housing new work, which decreased 2.5% and 1.7%, respectively.

  • Anecdotal evidence continued to indicate a slow-down in private housing, referencing customers' economic worries; however, some businesses across other sectors continued to report an easing in inflation.

  • An additional bank holiday was held for the coronation of King Charles III on 8th May 2023; while adjustments are made for regular calendar effects, there was no explicit adjustment for this ad hoc event; the timing of the bank holiday indirectly affects the number of trading days, which could affect construction monthly estimates.

  • Alongside the monthly decrease, construction output saw an increase of 0.2% in the three months to May 2023; this is the ninth period of consecutive growth in the three-month-on-three-month series; however, this is the weakest growth since the decrease in the three months to August 2022 (0.1% fall).

  • The increase in the three-month-on-three-month series came solely from a rise in repair and maintenance (2.5%), as new work saw a decrease of 1.3%; despite the increase, total repair and maintenance has weakened compared with the strength at the start of the year; the largest positive contributor was private housing repair and maintenance (3.9%); non-housing repair and maintenance (1.6%) was the other main contributor to the three-month-on-three-month increase, despite the decrease on the month.

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2. Construction in Great Britain data

Output in the construction industry
Dataset | Released 13 July 2023
Monthly construction output for Great Britain at current price and chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted.

Output in the construction industry: sub-national and sub-sector
Dataset | Released 12 May 2023
Quarterly non-seasonally adjusted type of work and regional data at current prices, Great Britain.

Construction output price indices
Dataset | Released 12 May 2023
A summary of the Construction Output Price Indices (OPIs) from January 2014 to March 2023, UK.

New orders in the construction industry
Dataset | Released 12 May 2023
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 18 November 2022
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 July 2023
Customise My Data (CMD) is the Office for National Statistics's (ONS) new way of providing filterable, explorable data suitable to individual user needs.

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3. 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, excluding 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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4. Measuring the data

Quality and methodology

More quality and methodology information (QMI) is available in our:

Reasons for revisions to construction output in this release

This release contains revisions to construction output estimates from January 2023 onwards, and is consistent with the National Accounts Revisions Policy. The revisions up to March 2023 are consistent with those published in our Gross domestic product (GDP) quarterly national accounts, UK: January to March 2023 bulletin, published on 30 June 2023.

Revisions in this release are a result of:

  • nominal data revisions; this includes revisions to the survey data

  • revisions to seasonal adjustment factors, which are re-estimated every month and reviewed annually

  • revisions to the input series for the Construction Output Price Indices (OPIs)

For further information on the revisions profile, see our Output in the construction industry – revisions triangle (one-month growth) dataset and our Output in the construction industry – revisions triangle (three-month growth).

Sub-national and sub-sector construction output

Data on new orders supplied by Barbour ABI, as shown in our Quality assurance of administrative data used in construction statistics methodology, are used to model the breakdown of the overall output figures for Great Britain into the lower level and regional data, as shown in Tables 1 and 2 of our Output in the construction Industry: sub-national and sub-sector dataset.

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. This is shown in our Improvements to construction statistics: Addressing the bias in early estimates of construction output, June 2018 article.

Response rates for May 2023 showed improvement compared with levels in recent years since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, we have continued not to apply a bias adjustment for May 2023 while we review this approach going forward.

Differences with Monthly GDP construction estimates

In Blue Book 2021, a new framework was introduced in our Producing an alternative approach to GDP using experimental double deflation estimates article. This improves 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 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 2020. 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 2021 onwards on a growth basis.

Information and indicative effects of this change to industry-level GVA volume can be found in our Indicative impact of a new framework including double deflation on industry volume estimates of GDP: Blue Book 2021 article and our Impact of Blue Book 2021 changes on quarterly and monthly volume estimates of gross domestic product by industry article.

Publishing content review

This release is a headline-only bulletin. We are currently reviewing the content we publish and are trialling a system of a full bulletin release on quarter months, with headline-only releases on the other two months of each quarter. There will be no change to the accompanying data and we will continue to publish all our usual datasets every month. We will announce a decision in a future release and welcome any feedback at

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6. Cite this statistical bulletin

Office for National Statistics (ONS), published 13 July 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Construction output in Great Britain: May 2023.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Iolo Tomlinson
Telephone: +44 1633 456 344