The prevailing unusual severe weather conditions in the UK have negatively impacted the civil construction sector, including house-building. March witnessed the fastest overall decline in construction output since July 2016, according to industry data.
The IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI data revealed a setback for the UK construction sector following five months of marginal business activity growth. However, survey respondents noted that the poor weather conditions had been a key factor behind the drop-in construction output, with snow-related disruption having a particularly negative impact on civil engineering projects.
The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has expressed concern over the impact of the harsh weather condition on the housing sector. “The cold snap impacted on a broad array of construction projects, including house building, domestic refurbishment and large civil engineering projects. Many small builders across the country were forced to close sites for more than a week and some employers reported that it was too cold to lay bricks,” Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said.
Construction companies indicated a decline in new business volumes during March. The latest deterioration in new order books was the sharpest since July 2016. Survey respondents noted that subdued underlying demand and, in some cases, weather-related disruption had weighed on sales in March.
Increased prices for metals and insulation in particular were noted in March. We expect material prices to continue to cause a headache for the construction industry with recent research from the FMB showing that 87% of builders believe that material prices will rise in the next six months - FMB