NFB says return of confidence is more significant than return to growth

The Office for National Statistics figures showed a return to growth of 1.4 per cent in the second quarter of 2013 compared with the same period in 2012. Although construction industry output fell 1 per cent compared with the second quarter of 2012, the figures did show a welcome return to growth of 0.9 per cent for the industry between quarters one and two in 2013. The industry had been reporting declines in output for all of 2012.

More significantly, the figures showed that the sense of confidence and buoyancy felt across the industry was being translated into measurable growth.

Julia Evans, chief executive of the National Federation of Builders, said:

“A sustained recovery needs a continuing, sustainable level of investment. The growth figures are very welcome, but we must not take our eye off the ball. There are still some areas, such as the Green Deal for refurbishment and restarting approved but stalled projects that could work wonders for stimulating the economy across all regions.”

It was one year ago this week on 27 July that the eyes of the world were focused on the Olympics, wondering if the construction industry could deliver function and awe on such a scale. The industry delivered. One year on, it is vital that the industry capitalises on those achievements. The government’s Help to Buy scheme is stimulating demand in housing, investment is being set aside for major infrastructure projects and there is greater certainty about future work demands.

Julia Evans continued:

“The building blocks for a healthy, long-term industry are being put in place. While we may not return to pre-credit crunch levels of activity, the construction industry has much to offer. It is a resilient, innovative industry that contributes much to our quality of life. The industry has been collaborating with the government on a vision for a world-class industry and is now working on making that happen through the industrial strategy for construction. In the meantime, the industry needs to do more to shout about its achievements and that is what the NFB is doing increasingly on behalf of its members.”