Although the ONS has revised up the Q1 2018 performance from -3.3% to -2.7%, this is still the biggest fall reported since August 2012. The general theme of their latest Construction Output figures for January to March is one of decline; All New Work -2.6%, Private Housing -1.6%, Public Housing -8.8%, Public Non-housing -5.9%, Infrastructure – 2.7%, Private Commercial -1.9%. The exception being Industrial construction which increased 1.9%.


The CPA’s Construction Trade Survey for Q1 2018, although not as negative, also reported a fall in heavy side product manufacturers’ sales and in workload for civil engineering firms. There were some positives, as activity continued to increase for main contractors and SME builders. And more than one quarter of firms surveyed expected orders, enquiries and product sales for the year ahead to remain positive.


In their Forecasts for the FM Sector, BCIS expect maintenance costs to rise 16.5% over the next 5 years, with cleaning costs increasing by 28%.


The Halifax House Price Index reports a decline of 0.1% in house prices for the three months to April 2018, but an annual increase of 2.2%. Halifax say house prices have softened in the early months of 2018, with mortgage approvals and completed home sales edging down. But they expect annual price growth to remain at the forecasted range 0% to 3% this year. Nationwide, report an annual increase of 2.6% to April 2018 and a positive monthly change of 0.2%.


The NHBC reported that for the 2017/18 financial year 154,698 new homes were registered to be built, a 2% reduction on the record 157,805 registrations seen in FY 2016/17. The new figures revealed a slower start to 2018, with 36,637 new homes registered in the first three months of the year, a decrease of 14%. They say there are anecdotal reports from some house builders that up to 30 days were lost on site in the first quarter of the year as a direct result of the arctic conditions.


The NBS has published its National BIM Report 2018 which shows that almost three quarters of respondents are now using BIM. 58% of respondents say manufacturers provide them with BIM objects.


Finally, good news for construction as we consider the impending skills shortage. The government has published a new guide, Future Building, in conjunction with Build UK which provides employers with advice on how to tailor work experience and placement opportunities for school age students, interns and career changers.

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