Will Construction Costs Go Down in 2023 UK?

As the construction landscape continues to evolve, will construction costs go down in 2023 UK? With numerous factors contributing to the complex dynamics of construction costs, it is crucial to stay informed and prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. In this blog post, we will explore the factors affecting “will construction costs go down in 2023 UK”, the trends shaping the construction industry, and strategies to manage these costs effectively. By understanding the intricacies of the market, you can make informed decisions and secure the success of your construction projects.

Short Summary

  • The success of construction projects in the UK in 2023 is dependent on understanding various factors such as rising material costs, labour shortages and energy prices.
  • Strategies to manage associated costs include value engineering, purchasing materials up-front and collaborating with suppliers/contractors.
  • Economic and industry related challenges require businesses to be agile in their response to successful projects.

Factors Affecting Construction Costs in 2023

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The construction industry in 2023 is expected to face several challenges that will significantly impact construction costs. These challenges include rising material costs, labor shortages, and fluctuating energy prices.

John Tretton, who works as a plumber in Birmingham, states, ‘In our field, the impact of these issues is tangible. We’re grappling with escalating costs for basic materials, and finding skilled labour is becoming increasingly tough. It’s not just about the numbers, but about how these factors are changing the way we work every day.’

Understanding these factors is crucial for effectively managing project budgets and ensuring the success of construction projects in the UK. Despite these challenges, it’s noteworthy that there are opportunities for labourers in London, offering avenues for individuals to contribute to the construction industry in the bustling capital and address its ongoing needs.

Material Costs

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The anticipated average increment in the cost of construction materials in 2023 is 4%. This increase is primarily attributed to the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted supply chains and led to a decrease in the production of construction materials. Furthermore, the UK’s brick supply is limited, with only approximately eight weeks’ worth of bricks in stock. However, the addition of new brick manufacturing plants in the UK over the next 6-12 months is expected to drastically decrease the country’s dependence on costly imports to replenish stocks in the future.

In addition to the rising cost of materials, the construction industry is also grappling with a decline in sales of ready-mixed concrete and sand and gravel. This decrease in sales is due in part to the decline in brick deliveries in 2023 compared to the previous year. These trends further highlight the challenges faced by the industry in securing cost-effective materials for construction projects.

Labour Shortages

The construction industry has experienced a decrease in activity recently, due in part to a shortage of skilled workers in the sector. This shortage is attributed to many workers returning to the EU and early retirees. The deficit of skilled labourers is perceived as a contributing factor to the escalating cost of construction and wage increases.

As the demand for skilled workers continues to grow, the limited number of available workers will further exacerbate the labour shortages in the construction sector. This will inevitably lead to increased pressure on project budgets and may impact the overall quality and timeline of construction projects.

Energy Prices

Predicting energy prices in the UK construction industry in 2023 is a difficult task, as energy prices are often unpredictable. These fluctuations in energy prices can have a significant impact on main contractors and make it difficult to make precise forecasts about project costs.

Although the decline in activity in the construction industry has led to the prices of some construction products being halted or even decreased, the volatility of energy prices remains a concern for the construction industry. Proper budgeting and risk management strategies should be employed to mitigate the potential impact of fluctuating energy prices on construction costs.

Construction Industry Trends in 2023

course, graphic, upwards

An important factor influencing construction costs in 2023 is the notable rise in renovations and home improvements. With the escalating costs and complexities associated with new construction, many homeowners and buyers are turning towards revamping existing properties. 

Several factors drive this trend: renovations can be more cost-effective, offer faster completion times, and often yield a higher return on investment (ROI).Key areas of focus include addressing issues like how to stop condensation on windows, avoid air leaks and enhance insulation, which is vital for comfort, energy efficiency and sustainable property. This shift towards renovation helps maintain house value and adapt to changing needs while mitigating the impact of new construction challenges. Such trends are reshaping the construction industry’s focus, emphasizing the importance of sustainable and economical building practices.

In 2023, output levels of the construction industry are predicted to fall, with a decrease in the private housing sector and continued demand for commercial building materials. The decline in construction output is projected to be 3.9% in 2023.

Despite these challenges, the construction industry is adapting and implementing new methods to counteract these trends and maintain stability in the market.

Output Levels

The Construction Products Association’s Spring Forecasts project a decline in the UK construction industry’s output by 6.4% in 2023. Factors such as material costs, labour shortages, and energy prices will all have an effect on the output levels in the UK construction industry in 2023.

To manage construction costs in the face of declining output levels, value engineering, purchasing materials up-front, and collaborating with suppliers and contractors may be utilized. By proactively implementing these strategies, construction businesses can better navigate the challenges presented by the industry’s shifting landscape.

Housing Market Developments

The UK housing market is expected to remain relatively stable in 2023, with construction output declining by 4.7% before slowly recovering in 2024 with a growth of 0.6%. An emerging trend for 2023 is the move towards modern methods of construction and a shift in focus from traditional on-site skilled labour to off-site manufacturing. This shift in focus has the potential to mitigate some of the labor shortages plaguing the construction industry.

Despite the anticipated decrease in private housing output by 11.0% in 2023, house renovation costs are remaining steady due to the increasing sales of insulation products. This indicates a potential shift in focus towards refurbishment and decarbonisation efforts in the housing market, which could help offset the decline in new housing construction.

Commercial Building Demands

Private non-residential construction is expected to increase in 2023, particularly in areas such as logistics and warehousing. These sectors have seen a surge in demand due to the growth of e-commerce, which has, in turn, increased the demand for commercial building materials.

However, the commercial sector is expected to experience a decrease of approximately 5% in 2023. This decline presents a challenge for the construction industry, which must adapt to shifting market demands while managing construction costs and ensuring the timely completion of projects.

Strategies for Managing Construction Costs in 2023

construction worker, man, people

To better manage construction costs in 2023, various strategies can be employed. These include value engineering, purchasing materials up-front, and collaborating with suppliers and contractors.

Understanding and implementing these strategies can help construction businesses navigate the challenges presented by the evolving construction landscape and ensure the success of their projects.

Value Engineering

Value engineering is a systematic approach aimed at maximizing the value of a product or project by evaluating designed building characteristics, systems, equipment, and material choices to achieve fundamental functions at the lowest life cycle cost in accordance with necessary performance, quality, dependability, and safety. The six phases of value engineering include information gathering, functional analysis, creativity and innovation, evaluation, development, and presentation.

By employing value engineering in construction projects, businesses can reduce construction costs without compromising the quality of the project. This methodical approach allows for the optimization of resources, ensuring that the project is completed efficiently and within budget constraints.

Purchasing Materials Up-Front

Procuring materials in advance can result in several benefits for construction projects. These include cost savings on markup, elimination of delays due to material shortages, and ensuring uniformity across jobs.

However, there are potential risks associated with procuring materials in advance, such as exceeding the budget and buying incorrect materials. To mitigate these risks, businesses can research materials and suppliers, establish a budget, and engage in negotiations with suppliers.

By procuring materials up-front, businesses can minimize expenses and streamline the construction process, resulting in the timely completion of projects.

Collaborating with Suppliers and Contractors

Working in conjunction with suppliers and contractors can result in shared objectives, supplier development, fewer modifications and rework, punctual delivery, increased profits, cost reductions, and more creative thinking. Establishing clear expectations, trust, and regular communication are essential factors for fostering successful collaboration with suppliers and contractors.

By developing strong relationships and working together to achieve common objectives, construction businesses can better manage project costs, ensure timely completion of projects, and maintain high-quality results.

The Role of Sustainable Design in Reducing Construction Costs

windmills, rainbow, fields

Sustainable design can play a significant role in reducing construction costs. By utilizing recycled and prefabricated materials and energy-efficient technologies, construction businesses can minimize expenses while promoting environmental sustainability.

Implementing sustainable design practices not only benefits the environment, but also contributes to the overall success and cost-effectiveness of construction projects.

Recycled and Prefabricated Materials

The use of recycled materials in construction projects can decrease waste, impede pollution, preserve natural resources and energy, and generate employment. Utilizing prefabricated materials can provide increased durability, assured quality, reduced expenses, and enhanced green credentials, while also decreasing time and labor costs during construction.

By incorporating recycled and prefabricated materials into their projects, construction businesses can significantly reduce construction costs while promoting environmentally sustainable practices.

Energy-Efficient Technologies

Energy-efficient technologies, such as solar panels, LED lighting, and energy-efficient appliances, can play a crucial role in reducing construction costs. These technologies offer numerous advantages, including reduced energy consumption and costs, increased energy reliability, decreased greenhouse gas emissions, improved indoor air quality, and enhanced comfort of living or working spaces.

Despite the initial cost of installation, the long-term benefits of utilizing energy-efficient technologies in construction projects can significantly outweigh the costs. As more businesses and homeowners recognize the advantages of these technologies, their adoption is expected to continue to grow, further contributing to the reduction of construction costs.

The Future of UK Construction Costs

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Economic factors and industry challenges will continue to influence UK construction costs in the future. Inflation, interest rates, and changes in government policies, as well as international influences such as the Ukraine war, will all have an effect on construction costs in 2023.

To navigate these challenges, construction businesses must adapt and implement effective strategies to manage costs and ensure the success of their projects.

Economic Factors

The impact of economic factors such as inflation and interest rates on construction costs in the UK in 2023 cannot be ignored. These factors, along with alterations in government policies, will significantly affect the construction industry’s output levels and material price inflation.

Construction businesses must be prepared to navigate these challenges and adapt accordingly in order to maintain stable project budgets and ensure the success of their projects.

Industry Challenges

Labour shortages and inflationary pressures will continue to impact construction costs in the UK in 2023. The unpredictability of the housing market also presents challenges for the construction industry, as demand for new housing and potential changes in regulations remain uncertain.

By understanding these challenges and implementing strategies such as value engineering, purchasing materials upfront, and collaborating with suppliers and contractors, construction businesses can effectively manage costs and ensure the success of their projects.


In conclusion, construction costs in the UK in 2023 will be influenced by various factors, such as material costs, labour shortages, and energy prices. To navigate these challenges, businesses should employ strategies like value engineering, purchasing materials upfront, and collaborating with suppliers and contractors. Additionally, implementing sustainable design practices and utilizing energy-efficient technologies can further assist in reducing construction costs.

As the construction landscape continues to evolve, businesses must remain informed and adaptable in order to thrive in the face of these challenges. By understanding the factors that impact construction costs and employing effective strategies, the construction industry can overcome these obstacles and continue to build a sustainable and prosperous future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will building costs go down in 2024 UK?

It appears unlikely that building costs will go down in the UK in 2024. Inflationary pressures and extended supply chain delays look set to drive prices up over the coming years. A return to the long-term average of 2.7% only forecast for 2024.

What is the UK construction outlook for 2023?

The outlook for the UK construction sector in 2023 is gloomy, with GlobalData forecasting a contraction of nearly 1.9% throughout the year and the Construction Products Association predicting a 4.7% drop in output, housing output 18% lower than in 2022, and monthly construction output at its lowest value since February 2022.

With government energy support packages likely to be reduced from April, the outlook remains challenging for the sector.

What will happen to the construction industry 2023?

By 2023, it is expected that the construction industry will continue to grow, as e-commerce expansion drives demand in logistics and warehousing. Growth in areas such as health care, educational facilities, and other public works are also expected to contribute to the construction sector’s sustained growth over the next few years.

With these prospects, it looks like the construction industry is set to remain a strong source of economic activity well into the future.

Will the building trade slow down in 2023?

Based on current estimates, the global construction sector is likely to remain slow in the coming years. With such a prediction, it appears that the building trade may indeed experience a slowdown in 2023.

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