The construction sector returned to growth last month, a survey said today, although housebuilders and commercial developers continue to weigh heavily on the industry.
The Markit/CIPS survey, where a reading above 50 represents growth, showed overall activity in the sector rose to 50.5 in October from 49.5 the previous month.
The rise was driven by moderate growth in the civil engineering sector for the second month running as residential building activity declined for the fifth month in a row. Commercial activity also dropped in October, but at only a marginal pace.
David Noble, chief executive at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), said the nation's builders are heading into a "long, dark winter’’.
He said: "Despite marginal growth in October, the prospects for the construction sector are bleak as firms prepare for the worst.’’
The October headline reading was much weaker than the average - 56.3 - seen in the decade leading up to the global financial crisis in 2008, highlighting an ongoing subdued trend in output across the sector.