Construction sector output shows rise - ONS
Latest Office for National Statistics data on output in the construction industry have shown a return to growth in output for the industry, in particular from housebuilding.
According to the latest figures, December saw construction output rise by 1.8 per cent compared with the previous month, largely due to an increase in new work.
Private commercial work was one of the main drivers behind construction growth, expanding by 5.2 per cent in December.
Compared with December 2015, construction output increased by 0.6 per cent, the main contribution to this growth came from new housing work.
Brian McQuade, managing director for Kier Construction Scotland & NE, said: “It’s encouraging to see a rise in output activity in the sector. Certainly Kier Construction is experiencing steady and sustainable growth as we deliver major build projects across education, healthcare, commercial and retail sectors. We’ve secured a solid pipeline of activity for the 2017 financial year.
“Although access to skilled labour and rising costs remain industry-wide concerns, there are still opportunities across Scotland, including an extra £800m of capital spending on infrastructure projects that will help Kier and the industry develop tomorrow’s diverse supply chain. I’m optimistic about the year ahead and we have a number of exciting new projects on the horizon that will ensure our continued steady growth in Scotland through 2017 and beyond.”
Allan Callaghan, managing director of housebuilder Cruden Homes West, said: “The confidence felt within the industry is beginning to match up with market activity and it’s great to see housebuilding emerge as a catalyst for sustainable growth. At Cruden we’ve had a strong start to the year across our private and public housing developments as modern, affordable homes remains in high demand.
“The challenge ahead for the Industry to maintain a sustainable continued growth is the persistent problem of skill shortages, well-articulated in the Farmer Review recently. This is again in the spotlight with the news that 12,000 workers are needed in Scotland over the next few years.
“Apprenticeship and training opportunities will go some way to address this but it’s a big gap to fill. The industry as a whole needs to get the message out there that the construction sector offers a wealth of varied and rewarding careers. The industry has proved to be very resilient and the future is looking bright – we just need more young people to realise that.”