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Construction forecast to grow by 22% in next four years

Construction output is forecast to record growth of 4.9 per cent for 2015, with the boost to be driven by a 10 per cent rise in commercial construction.

According to Construction News, forecasts from the Construction Products Association point to output growth of 4.9 per cent this year, followed by an increase of 4.2 per cent in 2016.

Overall, construction output will increase 21.7 per cent by 2019.

These figures represent a slight downgrade from the CPA’s previous forecasts in April, when it predicted growth of 5.5 per cent in 2015 followed by 4 per cent in 2016.

The main drivers behind output growth this year will be commercial office construction, housing starts and industrial activity.

Commercial office construction is forecast to rise by 10 per cent this year, followed by 7 per cent in 2016.

Similarly, industrial construction will see output increase 9.1 per cent in 2015 and 6.7 per cent for 2016.

Housing starts are set to rise by 9 per cent in 2015 – a slight downgrade on the 10 per cent predicted in the CPA’s April forecasts. This will be followed by growth of 5.5 per cent in 2016.

Overall, infrastructure will be the strongest performing sector during the next four years, with output forecast to growth by 72.4 per cent up to 2019.

Growth in the sector will also be consistent, with an increase of 10.3 per cent expected this year, followed by10.8 per cent in 2016 and 10.4 per cent in 2017.

The association also forecast a rise in public non-housing spending of 1 per cent this year, followed by 2.7 per cent in both 2016 and 2017.

In contrast, public housing output is expected to weaken significantly this year, with a 5 per cent fall in output forecast for 2015 followed by a further 6 per cent decline in 2016.

Construction Products Association economics director Noble Francis said: “Our forecast growth of 21.7 per cent by 2019 for construction has raised a key risk regarding the lack of skilled labour.

“Employment in the UK construction industry is now 390,000 lower than at its 2008 peak.

“So far, the lack of skilled labour has primarily affected the housebuilding sector.

“As the wider industry activity picks up, however, this issue is likely to spread across the industry.

“In the short term, it is already putting upward pressure on costs. In the medium term, the forecast growth will not be possible without significant investment in skills,” he added.

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