Construction workloads have increased for the first time in two years, according to the latest data from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).
The RICS quarterly survey of the UK construction market for the first quarter of 2010 showed a net balance of 5% of surveyors saying that activity is increasing rather than declining.
During the last quarter of 2009, the RICS report showed a net negative score of 12%, the seventh successive quarter that surveyors had reported shrinking construction workloads.
Private commercial showed the biggest improvement for the first three months of 2010, with the net balance of workloads increasing from -11% to +17%. Public and private housing also returned positive scores.
However, despite the positive overall score, the private industrial (-9%) and infrastructure (-4%) sectors still reported a decline in construction work.
Regionally, while London, the Midlands and the South East returned positive scores, surveyors in the North, Northern Ireland and Scotland said construction activity was continuing to decline.
Simon Rubinsohn, RICS chief economist said: "The construction sector seems to be finally lifting its head above the recession parapet but the continuing lack of development finance remains a major obstacle to a sustainable recovery with surveyors still pessimistic about future prospects. Concerns over likely cuts in public sector capital spending programmes is another factor contributing towards the cautious stance of respondents to the survey."