Large contracts in the private sector boosted construction orders to a three year high last month.

Construction orders figures released by the DETR, showed that new orders in the three months to August 2000 rose 20% to £6.47bn compared to the same three months last year.

Large private commercial and public non-housing contracts resulted in 40% and 43% increases respectively in the orders in those sectors. Orders stood at £1.1bn for public work and £2.6bn for private commercial work. Both sectors also enjoyed substantial increases in orders. These were up 47% and 39% respectively compared with the previous three months.

However, orders in the private industrial sector fell 12% from £591m to £522m. New orders in the private housing sector in the three months to August 2000 were almost unchanged compared with the same three months last year, at £1.16bn, compared with £1.1bn.

Orders in the infrastructure sector were unchanged compared to the previous three months at £1.15bn. However, they were 11% higher compared with the same period the previous year.