This year is expected to be a "turning point" for the sector, says Graham Robinson at law firm Pinsent Masons. But he warns that although the start of "recovery from a deep recession" for the construction sector was likely in 2013, that return to pre-crisis levels of activity is unlikely.

"We should remember that any recovery will be from a significantly lower base, as UK construction output has slumped by over 20% in real terms since the start of the financial crisis," he says.

His comments are in response to the The Markit/CIPS survey showing falling housing and civil engineering activity. The decline in civil engineering activity was the first since August 2012; however the drop in residential construction was the slowest for three months.