Output in the construction sector grew 2% in the third quarter, according to the Office for national Statistics. However, newbuild work fell 4% while the total output is 11% down on last year.
The growth is down to the performance of the non-housing repair and maintenance, which was 26% ahead compared with the previous three months. New public sector work, taking out housing and infrastructure, also did well, rising 7% compared with the previous quarter and 25% against the same period last year. New infrastructure output was down 3% on the previous quarter but rose 7% over the year.
However, private housing continued fall: 12% compared with the second quarter of the year and private commercial and industrial work was 4% down. New public housing work on the other hand was up 14% quarter-on-quarter.
RICS chief economist Simon Rubinsohn, said that the 2% gain masked “a significant divergence between new build and repair and maintenance work. While output of the former continues to slip, the latter has now increased for two consecutive quarters.”
The RICS, along with the Get Britain Building Campaign, is among those calling for reduction of VAT to 5% for repair and maintenance work as the improvement of existing stock is an increasingly important source of work for the industry.