Construction output increased in May, with levels above pre-pandemic figures according to the latest ONS figures. However, the repair, maintenance and improvement (RMI) sector continues its decline, which should send a warning to the rest of the industry and the government.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said “The positive numbers in the latest ONS stats mask a worrying underlying trend. Activity in the repair, maintenance and improvement sector (RMI) continues to fall, likely influenced by consumers juggling rising cost of living pressures. RMI work is the backbone of the construction industry and the lifeblood of small, local builders. If the decline continues, insolvencies will follow. The ONS is right to point to the pressures of high costs of construction products, lack of materials, high fuel costs and the ban on red diesel as having an impact on the sector. All these costs add up and must be passed on to a reluctant customer base who are looking to make savings.”

Notes to editors

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the largest trade association in the UK construction industry representing thousands of firms in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Established in 1941 to protect the interests of small and medium-sized (SME) construction firms, the FMB is independent and non-profit making, lobbying for members’ interests at both the national and local level.

The FMB is a source of knowledge, professional advice and support for its members, providing a range of modern and relevant business building services to help them succeed. The FMB is committed to raising quality in the construction industry and offers a free Find a Builder service to consumers.