The construction sector grew at its fastest rate in a decade during the first quarter of 2004, according to research by the RICS.
The industry grew partly as an indirect consequence of an increase in demand in the wider economy, and partly because of the biggest rise for three years in private industrial workloads.

Private commercial work also grew, with surveyors who reported a rise in such work outnumbering those who reported a fall by 35%.

Building activity was notably strong in the South-east and the North, with Northern Ireland reporting growth for only the second time in the past three years.

Launce Morgan, construction faculty chairman at the RICS, said: "Many projects that had been shelved are coming back now that business confidence is returning."

  • Figures issued with last month's budget showed that the government expects to pay out £5.5bn in 2004/05 on PFI contracts it has already signed.

    The government also estimates that the private sector will spend more than £4bn on PFI contracts in 2004/05, falling to £2.8bn the following year.