Commenting on the new construction output figures for August 2021 published by the ONS yesterday which show a fifth successive fall in monthly output and the level of output now 1.5% below pre-pandemic levels, Clive Docwra, Managing Director of property and construction consultancy McBains, said:

“Today’s figures are proof that the construction sector is in a downward spiral, as this is the fifth successive monthly fall in output.

“New work remains flat in due in large part to a continuing shortage of essential products such as steel, concrete and timber.  Steel prices in particular are now almost 75% higher than they were in August 2020.

“The outlook over the remainder of the year looks ominous too.  The triple whammy of continuing supply chain issues, together with a lack of HGV drivers to deliver the materials that are available, means some developments being delayed, and the fuel and energy crisis is also likely to add to project costs.

“Skills shortages are also a concern, so the government should grant an exemption allowing skilled foreign construction workers to apply for work visas, as they did to address the shortage of HGV drivers.”