Construction is changing from the weakest to the strongest sector

The 1.9% increase in activity was mainly due to new work (up 2.7%), while repairs and maintenance saw a smaller increase of 0.8%.

At the sectoral level, both private and public construction recorded growth of 2.8%, while the infrastructure sector saw growth of 3.5%.

Scott Motley, head of programmes, projects and cost management at Aecom, said: “The increase in production after three months of decline will give the construction industry a much-needed boost.

“Confidence will also increase once the general election results are announced and a Labour parliamentary majority provides clarity and stability about the country’s future direction.

“The ambitious promises in the Government manifesto, combined with actions taken in the first days in office, indicate that infrastructure will be a clear priority.

“But these ambitions will only be realised with a new level of cooperation between government and the private sector from the outset.”

Clive Docwra, managing director of McBains, a property and construction consultancy, said: “With previous statistics showing the construction sector lagging behind the modest growth seen in other industries, today’s figures are significantly better than expected.

“It is particularly pleasing that growth was recorded in most job sectors, with the number of new apartments increasing by 2.8%.

“But it’s not clear whether these are the green shoots of a recovery. Output still fell 0.7% in the three months to May, showing that growth remains fragile.

“Despite these gains, the sector still needs a boost and developers are hoping that Labour’s announcement this week of housebuilding plans will translate into renewed investor confidence for both residential and commercial developments.

“Every sector in the industry will be rooting for a period of economic stabilization to help construction across the board get back on track.”

Michael Wynne, director of sustainable homebuilder Q New Homes, said: “The rise in production can only partly be explained by the contrast between the beautiful weather in May – officially the warmest month on record – and the wet April, which delayed work on many sites.

“The number of new homes being built rose by 2.8% over the month, which is very welcome, but it is worth remembering that this figure is flattering compared to the low levels seen in the first part of the year.”