The gloomy findings from the quarterly sector-wide Building Engineering Business Survey covers member firms with a total turnover of around £12 billion.
It is the highest reported percentage fall in turnover since Q1 2016.
But the overall outlook for the current quarter is much more positive as 86% of businesses said they expect turnover to increase or remain the same, compared to Q1 2018.
ECA Deputy Director of Business Policy and Practice Rob Driscoll said: “So far, 2018 has been characterised by continual uncertainty as we awaited the output from the Grenfell enquiry, continued in the shadow of Brexit, saw Carillion fall and powered through a prolonged period of extreme weather.
“It was therefore no surprise that the first quarter of 2018 showed some decline, but despite higher operational costs and ongoing issues surrounding protracted payment, our sector has historically proven its resilience and has a positive outlook as demand is expected to increase during the second quarter.”