Financial News

  • 15 April 2014, 1:01

Wet February Wipes 270m From Building Sector

Woolly weather in February caused a sharp decline in UK construction, wiping more than a quarter of a billion pounds from the sector.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said output fell to 5.8bn, down 2.8% from January.

Output is defined as the amount charged by construction companies to customers for value of work in the period, excluding VAT and payments to sub-contractors.

It said new work dropped to 2.6% - equivalent to 160m - while the repair and maintenance sub-sector fell by 3.1% to 110m.

The ONS said: "While most private indicators of construction activity picked up throughout 2013 and 2014, a number were seen to temporarily depart from this trend in February 2014.

"Many also cited adverse weather conditions as the primary reason for lower activity levels, especially in the house building sector."

The ONS said the February dip caused construction to stay virtually flat over the quarter.

It said between December and February, the total sector grew by only 0.3%, compared to the September to November period.

The small amount of growth over the three-month winter period was due to a 1% increase in new construction work.

During the same period repair and maintenance decreased by 0.8%, despite a slight rise of 0.3% in work for public housing.

It said the level of construction was an eighth below the best monthly peak, which was recorded in June 2011 at 6.6bn.

Construction in the housing industry was particularly affected in February because of the weather.

It fell 6.3% on January's figure and was the biggest monthly drop since March last year, when below average temperatures and snow hit the country.

But overall, while public housing was down, private new housing was up 15.3% compared to February last year.

The ONS said damage to property in February caused by storms, wind and flooding is yet to be recorded in monthly data and is expected to be reflected when March's figures are released.