Economist tells Building that critcisim of the metric is unfair

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has defended its construction output figures, after again revising up its estimates for output this year.

Graham Sharp, construction economist at the ONS, told Building that criticism of the metric was unfair. He added: “The metric is the largest and most comprehensive in Britain.”

The ONS revised up output for the third quarter, from a fall of 0.6% on the previous year to a drop of 0.2%.

It also more than doubled its estimate for output in the second quarter of 2011, from 1.1% to 2.6% growth.

The revisions suggest output is on course to rise by around 3% on its 2010 level, barring a major collapse in the final three months of the year.

But construction economist Brian Green questioned the figures, saying they ran counter to the experiences of firms.

In August an arithmetical error caused the ONS to overstate the sector’s output in the second quarter nearly five-fold, only to correct the mistake hours later.