Construction output figures for August fell 4.3% against the previous month and marked the biggest year on year decline since May 2013.
The slide in the monthly output data was driven by a sharp drop in refurbishment and maintenance work. Compared with August 2014, total construction output dropped 1.3%, but new work was actually up 3.1%.
More reliable three-month data showed new work increased by 0.7% from June – August 2015, compared with the previous three months, while repair and maintenance hiccuped with a 3.6% decrease.
The picture is better comparing the output data for three months to last year when with all new work up by 5.6%, but repair and maintenance down by 4.6%.
Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, said: “Today’s figures need to be dissected and examined carefully before drawing any overall negative conclusions about the trajectory of construction output in the UK.
“While we have seen a contraction in the annual year-on-year growth rate, this is driven by a substantial dip in repair and maintenance output.
“Annual growth was driven by a substantial increase in infrastructure output, which is a promising sign given David Cameron’s renewed focus on housing, which will need to be complimented by schools, hospitals, fire stations and community leisure facilities.
“It is worth remembering that pin-pointing and dwelling on monthly fluctuations is unhelpful and distorts the bigger picture – we should always consider the bigger picture and take a longer view.”