Latest survey from Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply shows consecutive increases, with housing demonstrating strongest growth

Construction activity has risen for the second month in a row, according to the latest survey from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

Activity increased at a quickening pace, with the survey registering a score of 58.2 in April, compared with 53.1 in March. The index is scored out of 100, where any figure over 50 indicates a rise inactivity.

The consecutive increases in activity follow a two year decline. The survey showed commercial activity rising for the first time since 2008, and all of the three sub-sectors – housing, commercial and civil engineering increase their score.

Housing continued to show the strongest growth, with only civil engineering’s index remaining below 50, indicating a decline in activity.

The survey said construction companies were still laying people off, despite the pick-up in sales, albeit at the lowest rate since August 2008.

Purchasing activity also picked up for the second month in a row, delivering a consequent jump in the price of raw materials.

David Noble, chief executive officer of CIPS, said the figures were encouraging.

He said: “Though the industry is moving in the right direction, we mustn't be lulled into complacency as growth is coming from a very low base and operating conditions are still very difficult.

"While purchasing managers noted a growing appetite for new contracts, civil engineering is still a sore spot with little activity. It’s a worry considering what impact post-election spending cuts and rising input-price inflation might have on the sustainability of the sector’s recovery.”