Construction orders rose overall 3% last year, but slowed towards the end of the year, according to a survey by the DTI.

Although figures compared favourably with 2003, orders in the three months to November fell 4% compared with the previous three months.

The DTI survey shows that rises in public and private housing, infrastructure and private industrial orders in the three months to November were not enough to offset a fall in public non-housing and private commercial orders.

The biggest increase in the year to November was in private housing orders, up 13%. The biggest fall for the whole year was in infrastructure orders, which dropped 25%.

The fall in orders at the end of the year is in line with the Construction Products Association’s prediction of a fall in growth in 2005.