The accelerated output growth pushed the latest Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI index up to 60.1, up from 59.1 in January. The growth marks the sharpest growth in new orders since last October, which was seen in the three construction sub-categories of residential, commercial and civil engineering.
Residential activity saw the fastest rate of growth as input prices rose thanks to steep demand for construction materials combined with a lull in stock from suppliers.
Firms in the construction industry reported an improving economic condition leading to new business gains, and showed a positive sentiment for the future of their business. However, some of the respondents highlighted that clients had delayed contracts due to the upcoming General Election in May and uncertainty over its outcome and effect.
CIPS group chief executive officer David Noble said: “The construction sector is awash with positive sentiment, rejecting wholeheartedly the downbeat end to last year, with the steepest rise in output activity for four months. The good fortune comes in threes – as respondents report a rise in staffing levels, higher levels of new orders and rising rates for sub-contractors.”
The monthly survey further found that the rise in activity had lead to the creation of jobs in the sector during February, while subcontractors were also in high demand, with an accelerated rate of usage. Predictably this has meant that availability has dropped but average subcontracting rates had risen at the fastest pace since the survey began almost 18 years ago.
In looking to the next year, 51 per cent of those surveyed predicted a rise in business activity, with only nine per cent anticipating a reduction. Such positivity was based on pipelines of new work and the expectation of client spending over the coming 12 months.