While residential construction rose at its fastest rate in three months, this was offset by falls in commercial construction. Business activity in commercial construction fell to the greatest extent seen by the firm since March 2018, with the finger of blame pointed at ongoing Brexit uncertainty.
Civil engineering activity also fell in March, although the rate of decline eased since February.
As a result the report’s Total Activity Index posted a score of 49.7, up slightly from 49.5 in February – a score of 50 represents an unchanged situation.
Duncan Brock, group director at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, noted that a small rise in job creation, optimism in the sector and “resilient house building” were not enough to give the construction market a real boost.
He continued: “It is unlikely that next month will bring about any positive news given the challenges of a weaker UK economy, volatile pound and intense competition for new orders, as Brexit continues to cast a long shadow over the sector’s future.”
A report by the Centre for Policy Studies in January suggested that overall housebuilding figures for the last decade are set to be the lowest seen in any ten-year period since the end of the second world war.