The country overall returned a workload balance – the difference between the number of contractors reporting higher workload compared to the number reporting lower workload – of -18 per cent, compared to 38 per cent last year. Sectors which suffered the most were roads, water and sewage.
Strategic roads saw a fall to -21 per cent, with local roads not far behind at -19 per cent.
Preliminary works in general stood at -38 per cent, compared to +37 per cent in July 2007.
In terms of regions, Wales fared the worst. Contractors there showed workloads are down -32 per cent.
England returned figures of -22 per cent and showed the heaviest downturn from +45 per cent in July last year.
CECA director Rosemary Beales said: “Smaller contractors, particularly those engaged in preliminary works for new housing and other developments, have continued to struggle and it remains a deeply worrying trend.
“Major projects such as Crossrail and new-build nuclear need to move forward at a steady pace if the Government is to combat this loss of confidence.”