New construction orders in December 2009 rose by 21% compared to November, but orders for the whole year were down 13% on 2008.
Office for National Statistics figures show £3.3bn of new orders were made in December compared with £2.7bn the previous month.
Orders for all of 2009 totalled £33.1bn, compared with £38.1 billion in 2008.
Infrastructure was the biggest growth sector, with December orders rising to £1.1bn from £380m in November, while for the full year, it increased 42% to £8.4bn from £5.9bn in 2008.
Commercial orders fell 43% to £7.2bn from £12.7bn while private housing orders fell 28% to £5bn from £6.9bn in 2008.