The latest figures confirm the rebound has slipped down a gear after big gains in the summer but the industry continues to make steady progress in returning to more normal activity levels.
Monthly output % change
April -41%; May +9%; June +22%; July +17%; August +3%; September +2.9%
Both infrastructure and private housing are leading the recovery with September output finally exceeding pre-pandemic levels in February.
All other types of work in September have yet to return to more normal levels, with public new housing the furthest below its February 2020 level at 29.4%.
New orders in the third quarter to September are 0.6% up on the same period last year.
The highlight in the latest three-month order figures came from the depressed commercial sector which showed signs of stirring back into life, up 16% on last year’s Q3 level.
Infrastructure and private industrial orders were also ahead, both rising nearly 8%.
Fraser Johns, finance director at builder Beard Group, said: “The slowdown in the rate of growth in September possibly reflects the level of uncertainty at that time across the economy as the prospect of a tough winter ahead loomed.
“So it may be that with the positive news of a vaccine in recent days that uncertainty dissolves as we head through Q4.
“But at the same time the likelihood of a no-deal Brexit is also drawing closer and what that means for the availability of labour onsite, as well as challenges in the supply chains we’re seeing, could hamper efforts to go above and beyond pre-Covid levels of growth.”