There are few signs that Brexit has negatively impacted the construction industry according to the latest figures from the Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI). The new figures show sales up by 13.1%, with heavy building materials up by 14.1% and timber and joinery products up 11.8%. Overall like-for-like sales (allowing for two extra trading days) were up 2.8%. Year to date sales grew 5.4%.
The BMBI is produced for the Builders Merchants Federation which represents 560 merchant and supplier companies who together have combined sales of over £22 billion. The BMFs 300 plus merchants members operate around 4500 branches across the UK, supplying 80% of the building industry.
ONS statistics, released today, suggest construction output decreased by 1.5% in August. Whilst these are a different and broader measure of the construction sector, the contrast with BMBI figures, which relate to building materials, is startling.
BMF Managing Director, John Newcomb, commented “We are surpised by the ONS figures as they do not reflect what we see happening in the building materials industry. We believe that the BMBI figures more accurately show the strength of the sector as they correlate to future output. Put simply, for a brick to be laid, it first has to be supplied and purchased.
“There is lots of speculation on the impact of Brexit on the economy as a whole and on construction, so we are very encouraged to see sales growth of over 13% in August, which shows that our industry is still strong and in robust health”.