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Construction Industry

Construction Industry (2021) Outlook 

2020 was a year unlike any other and it certainly had a big effect on the UK’s construction industry. We look back at the sector’s recent output and share developments in 2021. 

Construction Output: Volume Seasonally Adjusted By Sector 2020-2021 (ONS)

Construction Output Graph

Economic output 

Whilst government restrictions changed the way people worked together on-site in 2020, construction work continued during the national lockdowns. 

Monthly construction output increased by 1.0% in October 2020 compared with September 2020, rising to £13,066 million. October 2020 brought the sixth consecutive month of industry growth, however data suggests that the overall output that month remained 6.4% (£898 million) below the February 2020 level, before the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Of the three types of construction, only infrastructure had recovered above the pre-lockdown level of output. 

Total construction output grew by 24.9% in the three months to October 2020 compared with the previous three-month period, due to increases in most areas, driven particularly by an increase in new work and repairs and maintenance across buildings, infrastructure and industrial construction. 

Construction employment figures 

Whilst the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme enabled employers to retain staff that may otherwise have been lost, the number of people employed in the construction sector fell by 83,000 (3.7%) from the start of April to the end of June 2020. 

In August 2020, industry employment figures indicated that the sector employed a total of 2.24m people. 

What are the 3 types of construction? 

There are three main types of construction: buildings, infrastructure and industrial.  

Buildings are usually divided into residential and non-residential construction projects and involve the development of new buildings for personal and private use. 

Infrastructure relates to large, heavy engineering works in the built environment, such as the creation and maintenance of bridges, roads, water and utility distribution. 

Industrial covers mining and quarrying, offshore construction, power generation, refineries and chemical plants, plus the development of manufacturing facilities. 

Major challenges facing the industry 

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