The DTI figures indicate that the number of new construction orders last year was the highest for at least a decade, although December's results have not yet been confirmed. Orders rose 5% for the 12 months to November on the same period in 2001.
This was largely because of increases in public sector building projects (excluding housing and infrastructure), which rose 17%, and private housing orders, which increased 10%.
But it was a poor 12 months for industrial work. Orders fell by 19% on 2001. The sector rallied towards the end of the year with a 2% increase in orders in the three months to November over the previous quarter. The volume of orders also rose 8% compared with the same quarter last year.