April figures show output at its fastest in 2017

Civil engineering and the housebuilding sectors were the star performers of the Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI figures for April as output grew at its fastest rate to date in 2017.

Construction output increased sharply to 53.1, up from March’s figure of 52.1 – above the growth threshold of over 50.0.

There was an increase in new work, which rose at its quickest rate this year but was still some distance short of its post-financial crisis peak in 2014.

Industry confidence was still high in April with almost half of those surveyed predicting an increase in work over the next 12 months, with only 10% forecasting a drop off.

Peter Vinden, managing director of The Vinden Partnership said: “The surge in construction growth in April is welcome news for the industry but certainly not unexpected.

“Big infrastructure projects are now underway across the country and the demand for new housing is as strong as ever. It is also clear that confidence from within the industry remains robust.

“We can perhaps expect to see a slight drop off in performance in the short term due to the government’s decision to call a snap general election, placing a pause of some projects.

“Of more pressing concern will be ensuring that Brexit doesn’t adversely effect the levels of skilled construction workers in the UK. The number of workers is already under pressure with an ageing workforce and a shortfall in people to take their place. It is crucial that the government don’t leave building sites shorthanded.”