Official Statistics

Transfer of construction statistics

Transfer of construction statistics to Office For National Statistics (ONS)




On 15 October 2007 the Office For National Statistics (ONS) announced the transfer of construction statistics based in Bristol from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR - formerly the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)) to the ONS, to take place on 1 March 2008. BERR has subsequently merged with the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills to become the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

In 2005, following a review, agreement was reached in principle to transfer the then DTI construction statistics’ collections based in Bristol to the ONS, subject to funding being available. During 2007 BERR reached an agreement with the ONS that responsibility for the collection and publication of statistics on construction output and new orders should be transferred to ONS from 1 March 2008. Statistics on both output and new orders are now published on the ONS website and are available at the links below:

The ONS also publishes the Construction Statistics Annual, a publication that brings together a wide range of statistics on the construction industry.

Statisticians in BIS continue to analyse and interpret construction data for policy colleagues within the department and for industry customers.



Responsibility for 6 surveys produced at the Bristol site was transferred to the ONS. Support remains in BIS for briefing on these surveys and on wider construction activity. Other construction statistics survey work is already out-sourced by BIS and management of this remains in BIS.

Bristol-based surveys

  • six construction surveys collected at Bristol were transferred:
  • quarterly inquiry of activity for construction and allied trades
  • the building and civil engineering employment and output enquiry
  • monthly inquiry of contracts and new orders
  • annual inquiry
  • quarterly inquiry of projects in progress
  • key performance indicators

Briefing and analysis

BIS continue to be responsible for briefing and analysis services to customers in respect of Bristol survey results, as for wider construction activity issues. The resource required to carry this out remains in BIS and ONS provides BIS with the necessary continuing supply of micro-data used by construction statisticians.

ONS have undertaken that there will be no changes in the range and detail of statistics supplied for the construction industry as a result of this transfer. In this way, the transition will be as seamless as possible to users of the data.


The steps in the transfer were as follows:

  • announce the transfer on 15 October 2007
  • transfer responsibility for the work to ONS on 1 March 2008
  • second the BERR Bristol staff to ONS for twelve months from 1 March 2008 to 1 March 2009
  • move the work from Bristol to Newport on 1 March 2009
  • close the Bristol site as soon as possible after 1 March 2009

Implications for staff

The transfer of the work included the transfer of all the Bristol construction statistics’ posts and one London statistician post.

During the period from 1 March 2008 to 1 March 2009 the present staff continued to be employed on the data collections at the BERR offices in Bristol.

After the secondment to ONS ended BERR made provision for the staff whose posts had been transferred to ONS but who did not wish to transfer. BERR and ONS worked closely with the unions on all issues prior to the transfer.

Published 24 August 2012