Construction output figures from the Office for National Statistics covering the first quarter of 2009 highlight a 16% fall on the corresponding quarter in 2008. This is the sharpest decline on record.
Private housing output fell 32% from the first quarter last year, industrial new-build dropped 40% and the commercial sector fell 26%.
Even in infrastructure, which had been expected to be buoyed by significant workloads in the rail sector, output in the first quarter of 2009 was 5% lower than 2008.
Other figures from the report showed that industrial new-build has had its biggest fall on record – 40% compared with a year ago. Given that new orders in industrial fell a staggering 62% in the first quarter of 2009, industrial output will be expected to fall further during the rest of the year.
Output in the commercial sector fell 26%. Again, with new orders in commercial down 55% in the first quarter, output will be expected to fall further through 2009.
Public housing fell 12% in the first quarter of 2009 compared with a year ago, but public non-housing rose 7%. The sector is sustained by work in education and health.
Private housing repair and maintenance in the first quarter of 2009 fell 10% compared with the corresponding period last year, and 16% compared with the previous quarter.
Noble Francis, economics director of the Construction Products Association, said: “The only solace in these figures is that 2008 Q1 saw the highest level of construction output ever, and although the latest results from the Office for National Statistics highlight the sharpest fall on record, it is from an all-time high.”
Electrical and Mechanical Contractor