Industry closer to 10% of GDP, report adds

The UK construction industry is nearly twice as big as official government data says.

According to the Office for National Statistics, construction contributed £116.3bn to the UK economy in 2018.

tower cranes

Source: Shutterstock

But a new report said there is another £98bn of construction sector activity that is not included in the official figures.

Construction contributions from manufacturing, mining and energy add £60bn to GDP, professional services more than £25bn, finance and real estate around £8bn and distribution another £5bn.

This hidden data means government policymakers are working on the basis of a 6% contribution to the whole economy when the industry’s real input is more than 10%.

The CIOB’s new Real Face of Construction 2020 report says the ONS definition of the industry is too narrow and that the government should consider the services and manufacturing sectors within the construction industry, rather than just site work.

Caroline Gumble, chief executive of the CIOB, said: “Our purpose for this report is to help educate policymakers about the true value of the built environment and the need to work in closer partnership with the industry to realise its full potential, particularly at a regional level.”

The institute recommends the ONS works with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy to produce satellite accounts for construction that pull together numbers from the broader construction sector.