The Construction Purchasing Managers' Index slumped to 35.1 in October from 38.8 in September, its lowest level since the survey’s inception in 1997.
A score below 50 indicates the industry is contracting.
The index compiled by the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply and economics research firm Markit reveals housing construction again recorded the sharpest decline.
The housing sub-index fell to 25.2 from 26.1 although remained above the series low hit in July.
Employment levels suffered in October as the economic and financial malaise spread and negatively impacted on workloads.
UK constructors shed staff at a survey-record pace, as highlighted by a fall in the seasonally adjusted Employment Index to 40.9.
CIPS director Roy Ayliffe said: "There was no let-up in October for struggling constructors as the global economic and financial malaise continued to unnerve the sector.
"Concerned purchasing managers reported a new survey low in activity levels under the relentless onslaught of tightening credit conditions, plummeting confidence and high inflation."