Construction buyers also reported the largest upswing in civil engineering work since the Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index began in 1997.
The latest index hit 62.6 in February – down slightly from 64.6 in January but above the neutral 50.0 value for the tenth successive month.
David Noble, Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, said: “Bad weather took a bite out of progress in house building, but UK construction remains on a strong growth trajectory in February.
“The sector was fuelled by the strongest rise in civil engineering activity in the survey’s history, as an increase in spending was recorded on investment and infrastructure projects in response to recent flooding.
“Even though both housing and commercial activity suffered a slide in pace of growth in February, the overall performance was one of continued expansion.
“Rising employment and highly positive business expectations also suggest that the slowdown will only be temporary.
“Backed by favourable market conditions, firms are continuing to increase staff numbers, hitting a three – month high this month.
“Strong demand is continuing to put pressure at a supplier level, with vendors battling with low stocks and prices increasing as a result. While delivery times are still deteriorating, they are at least doing so at the slowest rate since August 2013, suggesting that the very worst of the squeeze has passed. ”
Tim Moore, Senior Economist at Markit and author of the Markit/CIPS Construction PMI,, said : “Construction output growth succumbed somewhat to the recent wet weather, with temporary disruptions from heavy rainfall most acute for house building activity in February.
“Consequently, residential work ceded its place as the best performing category to civil engineering, as construction work related to flood relief and infrastructure maintenance rose sharply over the month.
“While some froth has come off overall construction growth in February, the latest data showed that job creation picked up to a pace rarely seen since the summer of 2007.
“Moreover, in the latest survey there were six construction companies forecasting higher activity over the year ahead for every one anticipating a reduction.
“As a result, there appears an undiminished depth of belief among construction companies that strong growth will be sustained this year, helped by more favourable economic conditions and an ongoing house building recovery. ”