December Construction Update from BEIS

The latest Monthly Construction Update from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which uses the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) as one its sources, is now available.

Monthly construction output fell 1.8% in volume terms in October 2021 – the largest decline since April 2020.  New work declined by 2.8%, though there were large differences between sectors, while repair and maintenance remained unchanged. While new work output remains lower than before the pandemic hit (-2.8%), repair & maintenance work was 3.9% (£193 million) above its February 2020 level.

In December, the government published only headline figures for other periods, but they show that compared to the same month last year, construction output was up significantly (+3.3%), and new work was more than 5% higher than October 2020.

The IHS Markit CIPS construction purchasing managers index for November indicated a sharp increase in construction activity, led by the fastest upturn in commercial work since July. UK construction companies continue to report widespread supply issues. The Total Activity Index registered 55.5 in November, up from 54.6 in October. A steeper rise in commercial construction helped to offset a slight slowdown in housebuilding growth, while civil engineering was the weakest area in November.

The latest Monthly Statistics of Building Materials and Components were published by BEIS on 1st December. It shows that the material price index for ‘All Work’ increased by 24.5% in October 2021 compared to October 2020, and was up 1% compared to September 2021.

The latest BMBI report for Q3 confirmed merchants’ sales were 14.9% higher in September than in the same month last year, with ten of twelve categories performing above September 2020. Month-on-month, September sales were up 6.2% on August 2021.

As well as the figures above, the update includes an assessment of the impact of Covid-19 and the ‘Business insights and impact on the UK economy‘ publication, which is based on responses from the voluntary fortnightly business survey (BICS), and construction sector forecasts by Experian and by the Construction Products Association.

The December update also includes the headlines from the Bank of England Agents’ Summary of Business Conditions report, statistics on the furlough scheme – which has now ended – from HMRC, as well as forecasts from the OECD’s latest economic outlook.

To download the latest BEIS Monthly Construction Update click here