Growth at lowest in three years as civil engineering sector struggles.

The construction industry in Britain grew at its slowest rate in more than three years in May as activity in the civil engineering sector dropped, and residential construction stagnated, according to the latest figures from the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply.

The CIPS said that its construction purchasing managers’ index fell to 52.6 in May from 54.8 in April – the third consecutive month in which growth has slowed.

In the CIPS ratings, where a figure above 50.0 represents a growth, and one below 50.0 a contraction, civil engineering scored just 47.9. Residential housing was at 49.9, compared to 48.9 the previous month.

Roy Ayliffe, director of professional practice at CIPS said: “Despite the sluggish data, panellists remained confident about the future of the UK construction industry, due to the confirmation of large projects and the expectation of increased opportunities to tender in the coming year.”

Future business activity scored 76.3, the highest since February.