Wienerberger Comment: Q2 2023

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that monthly construction output is estimated to have increased 1.6% on volume terms with increases in both new work (0.2%) and repair and maintenance (1.1%) on the month.

The latest Glenigan Construction Review  highlights that residential work commencing on site during the three months to June fell 10% against the preceding three months. Detailed planning approvals for residential projects decreased 19% on the previous three months too.

Cutbacks in new housebuilding projects continue to weigh on construction output, but there is hope. Bank of England data shows British lenders approved the highest volume of mortgages since October 2022 in March. Housebuilders are highlighting a recovery in buyer interest too, as the public’s confidence in the economy hasn’t decreased as much as first expected. Plus, as UK economic forecasters are stepping away from their recession predictions after falling energy prices and stronger spending helped to support growth in the first half of 2023, the future is looking brighter than first anticipated.

So, although the construction sector has faced a difficult time recently, the fear that high inflation, strikes and financial turmoil would lead to falling output hasn’t happened as builders and manufacturers have recorded faster growth than initially estimated.

One area that is booming right now is solar energy, with small-scale residential solar panel installations accounting for 73% of the UK’s added solar capacity in 2022. More than 60,000 installations were completed in Q1 2023, the highest-performing quarter since Q4 2015. Renewable energy technologies like solar PV are on the rise and this is where the future in construction is headed.

We launched our Sandtoft in-roof solar range earlier this year as we know that offering solutions to help meet energy goals is vital, especially for meeting new regulations such as the recent changes to Part L and the 2025 Future Homes Standard. If we can make the lives of people in the industry easier with our products, then we’re doing our job.

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