If you like your news black like your coffee, then the latest survey of the commercial property forecast from the surveyors' body RICS will have you putting the kettle on if not reaching for the drinks cabinet.

Expect property prices to collapse more than in the recessions of the 1970s and 1990s is the basic message.

According to RICS capital values fell 24.5% from the peak in June 2007 to this October. But, it suggests prices may have halved by the time the market bottoms out at the end of 2009 and into 2010.

This is not the sort of backdrop against which investors plough cash into new buildings. So we can expect the rapid retreat of work in offices, industrial and retail to continue apace.

The commercial property market provides a backbone for most of the blue chip constructors and consultants in the UK.

The commercial sector has provided much if not most of the innovation in recent years aimed at improving the construction industry performance and image. This work will be truly tested.

But more immediately the sector provides a huge swathe of total construction output.

The four sectors of offices, shops, factories and warehouses alone account for best part of £19 billion of work last year, or 27% of all new work.

That is roughly the size of the private new house building sector in 2007.

So if they fall at an equivalent rate we are looking at between £15 billion and £20 billion less work by 2009.

That hopefully puts into perspective the Government's promise of bringing forward capital spending.

If the gains made by construction over recent years are to be sustained, I suspect that significantly larger sums will need to be ploughed into the industry from the public purse.

It is interesting to watch the debate growing over whether the Bank of England should be boosting the workload of its Essex printers as the talk of "quantitative easing" gains momentum.

For me, it wouldn't be a bad thing to see the printing of a few billion quid to put into building homes for temporary rent and eventual sale and investing in energy efficiency schemes.

Naturally there are risks, but the bigger risks are in doing nothing.

It would be better than watching the now seemingly inevitable hundreds of thousands of job losses and to see 15 years of effort to improve the construction industry go down the drain.