Construction has its strongest month for three years

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that construction output not only increased by 5.4 per cent in Q1 2014, compared with Q1 2013, but also displayed the strongest set of figures since March 2011.

While much of the recovery in construction has been driven by private housebuilding which rose by 29.2 per cent year-on-year, the continuing shortage of materials and skilled labour may constrain future growth.

Paul Senior, national chair of the National Federation of Builders, said:

“Rising workloads and increases in future orders are good news, but behind those figures are areas of concern. Higher labour costs and a lack of available skills are a ticking time bomb that needs to be defused urgently otherwise, for many SMEs, building will become unsustainable.”

Domestic repair and maintenance continues to struggle as output fell quarter on quarter by over 7 per cent.

Paul Senior continued:

“Encouragement for homeowners to make their homes warmer and more energy efficient is always welcome and by providing up to £7,600 the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund should do just that and provide work for smaller companies that will support local economies. However, there is more to retrofit than the Green Deal and the government needs to look at other measures that will allow homeowners to maintain their homes cost effectively.”