Growth in construction output will fall from 3.1% in 2004 to 0.3% this year, according to economic consultant Hewes and Associates.

According to research by Hewes, growth will strengthen next year and in 2007, but the pace will be modest compared with recent years.

The company attributed the drop in growth to a decline in private housing, as well as slower growth in public-sector work.

Although commercial work grew 4% last year, Hewes expects it to fall 0.6% in 2005.

“Alongside a slowdown in construction output growth, we expect a less robust economy over the short term,” said Martin Hewes.

The report takes a gloomier outlook on short-term prospects than the Construction Products Association and research company Experian, which have forecast 0.8% and 2.1% falls respectively in construction output for 2005.