The latest forecast from Hewes & Associates is not one that will fill the faint hearted with comfort as they return to work from their Easter break.

Hewes's rather bleak take on the prospects for UK construction suggests that the industry is heading for a fairly prolonged recession taking output in 2010 back to the levels seen in 2003.

The forecast construction recession will be caused by a rapid fall in private sector house building, predicts Hewes, with a drop of 17% in activity over the next two years.

Hewes also sees a second shock to construction in the pipeline as commercial building tails off sharply in 2009.

The net effect will be a slump in the overall construction activity - down 2.2% this year and 3.2% in 2009, with the downturn bottoming out in 2010.