Growth in the construction sector slowed in April but another solid rise in new orders shored up confidence in the year ahead.
The Markit/CIPS survey, where a reading above 50 represents growth, fell to 55.8 in April from a 21-month high of 56.7 the previous month, which was boosted by fine weather.
All three sectors saw growth, with commercial building leading the way, followed by civil engineering projects, but housebuilding saw only a marginal increase despite picking up since March.
New orders fell from a four-and-a-half year high in March but still saw strong growth, which helped buoy confidence to levels above those seen over most of the previous year and led to the second month of employment growth in a row.
Recent robust industry surveys for the construction sector have been at odds with official figures that showed the sector contracted by 3 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, and contributed to the UK's double-dip recession.