Construction industry in the UK - statistics & facts

The UK construction industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with overall output declining by over 35 percent y-o-y in April 2020. Being an unprecedented disruption, construction output in the United Kingdom in 2021 was still lower than it was before the pandemic. It is expected that output is to reach more normal figures over the course of 2021, spearheaded by government investments in infrastructure, especially in railways. One example is the HS2 project, a high-speed rail line that will link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds together. Indeed, infrastructure was the only sector in the UK where construction output was higher in 2021 than before the coronavirus pandemic. How, then, are the other sectors – such as residential and commercial - developing? And what construction industry trends can be identified?

Aiming for the future: residential and commercial construction

Building construction might well be the construction sector that felt COVID-19 the most in the UK. The number of new homes registered to be built in 2020, for instance, decreased to roughly 123,000 – with a higher decrease in the private sector than in the build to rent sector. This is below a target set by the government, which states that annual construction from private companies, housing associations and public bodies should reach 300,000 units a year by 2025. Forecasts estimate this target might not to be reached. When it comes to offices, London has by far the highest amount of stock. The future trend here is refurbishment: from 2023 onwards, it is expected that office refurbishments in the London West End will outweigh offices that are being newly developed.

Building a Lego house: BIM and pre-fab building

Despite the pandemic, it is said that off-site solutions and digital trends continue to develop in the UK construction industry. Chief among these is BIM or Building Information Modelling - a 3D modelling program in which architects, builders, environmental managers and other people in the construction process can work on a single digital model of a building at the same time. Mandatory to use in the UK - as can be seen in the BIM user penetration for the country - this software increasingly replaces design program CAD, as it allows for a re-thinking of how a building can be designed and constructed. Nevertheless, some UK industry professionals do list potential barriers to using BIM. Modular construction and pre-fab building – trends that pre-date COVID-19 - are also expected to continue growing, with UK import figures on pre-fab building components for 2020 already being the highest recorded since 2007. Requiring fewer workers and supporting remote work, manufacturing building components off-site in combination with BIM modelling can potentially lead to fast construction times.

Key figures

The most important key figures provide you with a compact summary of the topic of "Construction industry in the UK" and take you straight to the corresponding statistics.

New residential construction

Repair & maintenance (R&M)

Building materials

Interesting statistics

In the following 11 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Construction industry in the UK".

Construction industry in the United Kingdom (UK)

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Construction industry in the UK - statistics & facts

The UK construction industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, with overall output declining by over 35 percent y-o-y in April 2020. Being an unprecedented disruption, construction output in the United Kingdom in 2021 was still lower than it was before the pandemic. It is expected that output is to reach more normal figures over the course of 2021, spearheaded by government investments in infrastructure, especially in railways. One example is the HS2 project, a high-speed rail line that will link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds together. Indeed, infrastructure was the only sector in the UK where construction output was higher in 2021 than before the coronavirus pandemic. How, then, are the other sectors – such as residential and commercial - developing? And what construction industry trends can be identified?

Aiming for the future: residential and commercial construction

Building construction might well be the construction sector that felt COVID-19 the most in the UK. The number of new homes registered to be built in 2020, for instance, decreased to roughly 123,000 – with a higher decrease in the private sector than in the build to rent sector. This is below a target set by the government, which states that annual construction from private companies, housing associations and public bodies should reach 300,000 units a year by 2025. Forecasts estimate this target might not to be reached. When it comes to offices, London has by far the highest amount of stock. The future trend here is refurbishment: from 2023 onwards, it is expected that office refurbishments in the London West End will outweigh offices that are being newly developed.

Building a Lego house: BIM and pre-fab building

Despite the pandemic, it is said that off-site solutions and digital trends continue to develop in the UK construction industry. Chief among these is BIM or Building Information Modelling - a 3D modelling program in which architects, builders, environmental managers and other people in the construction process can work on a single digital model of a building at the same time. Mandatory to use in the UK - as can be seen in the BIM user penetration for the country - this software increasingly replaces design program CAD, as it allows for a re-thinking of how a building can be designed and constructed. Nevertheless, some UK industry professionals do list potential barriers to using BIM. Modular construction and pre-fab building – trends that pre-date COVID-19 - are also expected to continue growing, with UK import figures on pre-fab building components for 2020 already being the highest recorded since 2007. Requiring fewer workers and supporting remote work, manufacturing building components off-site in combination with BIM modelling can potentially lead to fast construction times.

Interesting statistics

In the following 11 chapters, you will quickly find the {amountStatistics} most important statistics relating to "Construction industry in the UK".

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