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Construction Industry Growth Continues In Latest Statistics
The construction industry continued to rebound from the shutdown on construction projects, with growth in the industry every month from April to August, according to the most recent Office for National Statistics figures in the sector.
These figures, which include up to August 2020, come as a new three-tiered set of restrictions have been unveiled to help control the current circumstances, and ensure the continued work of builders, architects and scaffolders in York, Liverpool and other cities in the North of England hit by restrictions.
However, the recovery statistics have shown a relative unevenness in the rate of recovery, affected by other parts of the economy and whilst the overall sector is growing, it remains below pre-lockdown levels.
What This Means
There has been growth in nearly every part of the construction sector, but the differences in the rate of growth are notable and can be explained through other parts of the economy.
The repair and maintenance sector was one of the key contributors to growth across all parts of construction, including public and private housing, as well as retail and industrial buildings.
The latter can be explained by a drive since July to re-open high streets and return staff to offices who had been working from home.
As a result of preparing to welcome people back as well as the requirement to adapt buildings to ensure social distancing and efficient hygiene, repair and improvement work on a commercial level has increased.
The increasing in housing repairs, as well as a disproportionate increase in new housing, is the result of a temporary stamp duty holiday, which has incentivised both buyers and sellers.
The interest in relocation has led to a spike in the housing market, although how long this will last after the realistic window to sell before the end of the tax break in March 2021 is uncertain.
Outside of residential, there has been an increase in construction for commercial properties, such as offices and shops, although the only sector not to see an increase was industrial buildings.
This in part can be explained by the relatively larger cost of building warehouses, factories and other major industrial buildings and so major investors have been waiting to see what the future holds for industrial markets that have been affected by the current circumstances.
Out of all the sectors, the only one to have increased the level of output since the initial lockdown has been in infrastructure. Whilst there are several reasons for this, one of the most pragmatic is space.
The building sector has been significantly affected by social distancing measures intended to stop as much as possible the spread of Covid-19 on building sites.
This has included social distancing, staying within construction bubbles, building back to back when social distancing is possible, PPE and hygiene standards, staggering work times, and other attempts to reduce close contact between construction staff.
The construction industry was among the first to return after the national lockdown was instigated in March, and the primary hope is that this growth will continue through the remainder of 2020 and beyond.