The latest forecast from the Construction Products Association expects private housing to grow rapidly from its very low base.
But even with strong growth, starts in 2012 will be lowest since 1946 and only reach 145,000 by 2014, still 18% below the peak in 2007.
The CPA said overall construction output will fall 3% this year. After that it forecasts a three year period in the doldrums with lacklustre growth of around 1% annually.
CPA economist Noble Francis said: “The problem is that growth below 2.25% means we are returning to the bad old days when everything falls into disrepair.
“We are expecting some fall in public spending this year with more next, but we are not factoring in the size of cuts that have been mooted.”
He added: “Even with public spending cuts, there are some bright spots for contractors from a recovery in private sector work.”
Francis said that housing was showing signs of coming back from its deep trough and towards the end of this year office building and even industrial would start to recover.
In spite of some cause for optimism he said it was critical that public spending on schools and housing, as well as in energy and transport infrastructure, is not cut sharply.
This would delay recovery for the construction industry and the economic recovery for the UK could be severely hindered.
By the end of 2010, it is anticipated the construction industry will have lost £16 billion of work in just three years.
- 32% growth in private housing starts between 2010 and 2012
- Industrial up 8% in 2011 after plummeting by half in previous three years
- Commercial to grow 4% in 2011, after a 41% fall in output during 2009 and 2010•
- Infrastructure to grow 42% by 2014 with work on rail construction doubling in five years
- Overall construction output to decline 3% in 2010
- Around 1% annual growth 2011 -2013
- Industry growth returns to 2% trend level in 2014