UK repair and maintenance plummets after Brexit as SIG issues profit warning

Repair and maintenance activity in the UK saw its biggest fall in six years in the third quarter after the Brexit vote, official figures show.

In Quarter 3 (Q3, July to September) all repair and maintenance decreased by 3.6% on Quarter 2 (Q2), the largest quarter-on-quarter fall since Q1 2010, when it fell by 4.9%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The figures released 11 November record construction sector output in the three months since the Brexit vote on 23 June.

Breaking the sector down further, housing repair and maintenance decreased by 3.2% in Q3 2016, the largest quarter-on-quarter fall since Q1 2011, while non-housing repair and maintenance decreased by 3.9%, to £5.7bn, its lowest level since Q2 2013, said the ONS.

The figures were released on the same day European building materials and insulation firm SIG issued a profit warning and said its chief executive was stepping down.

The company pointed to the Brexit vote in announcing its troubles.

"Following a slowing of activity around the time of the EU referendum, trading conditions in the UK have continued to soften and competition in the market has intensified," it said.

"In particular," the company added, "the Group has been impacted by delays to some projects in the commercial sector and subdued demand for technical insulation in the petrochemical and manufacturing sectors. As already has been widely noted within the industry, the UK RMI market [repair, maintenance and insulation] also remains challenging."

In the construction sector as a whole, the quarterly results were mixed.

Total construction volumes fell by 1.1% between Q3 and Q2, but the falls in repair and maintenance were offset by gains of 1.2% in infrastructure and 0.9% in other new public work.

Image: For illustration purposes, shows a Habitat for Humanity project installing siding and insulation for houses in Clevleland, Ohio (Petty Officer Bill Colclough/US Coast Guard)

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