House Building Up, But Overall UK Construction Down
The latest data from the IHS Markit/CIPS construction purchasing managers index (PMI) has revealed that UK construction stayed in negative territory in March.
However, house building activity in the country increased at its fastest rate for three months, but this wasn’t enough to offset the decline in commercial and civil engineering work.
In March, the index posted an overall score of 49.7, up slightly from the 49.5 recorded in February but still in negative territory. Commercial construction activity was named as the poorest performer, with uncertainty about Brexit and worries over the UK’s economic performance cited as the main reasons for the fall.
Group director at the CIPS Duncan Brock said that there are fears that this decline could continue for some time, with Brexit largely to blame for all the uncertainty.
He said that it’s “unlikely” the figures for April will be any more positive, “given the challenges of a weaker UK economy, volatile pound and intense competition for new orders, as Brexit continues to cast a long shadow over the sector’s future”.
Joe Hayes, economist at IHS Markit, noted that many firms in the UK have been boosting their construction supplies to ensure they are able to continue with their existing projects in the event of any disruption to supply chains due to Brexit.
Earlier this month, Planning and Building Control Today highlighted some of the ways in which Brexit is expected to impact the construction sector in the country. Among the main challenges will be recruiting enough skilled workers, as well as potential increases in material costs if free movement of goods with the EU comes to an end.
If you need steel cladding sheets for a project you’re working on, talk to us today about sourcing the supplies you need.