Figures from the Office for National Statistics show 367,000 more people across all industries have shifted into self employment since the start of the economic downturn.
Construction was highlighted as one of the four most common trades for self-employment by the statisticians.
The figures came as a new report highlighted the vital role of self-employed workers in the industry.
The study by Cranfield University Professor Andrew Burke warned “Without genuine freelancers, the construction industry would be smaller in size and hire fewer workers.”
The research involved analysis of 40 main and trade contractors including Kier and Taylor Wimpey.
It concluded: “The absence of a legitimate freelance sector of the workforce would have highly negative economic consequences; causing economic contraction, higher costs, and reduced employment as well as more highly concentrated and less competitive markets.”