The RICS construction market survey, which asked surveyors across the country to report their orders in the second quarter of the year and their expectations for the coming three months, showed that workloads had collapsed to bring an end to 11 years of continual growth.
Around 19 per cent more surveyors saw falls in workloads in the survey period than increases, which represents the sharpest downturn in workloads since autumn 1995.
The balance between those expecting work to pick up between now and September was also negative at -15, suggesting that contractors will face tough trading conditions in the months to come.
Private housing and commercial workloads both fell at the fastest pace since the survey began in 1994 while the fall in public non-housing was the largest since the second quarter of 1996.
Only infrastructure and private industrial remained positive.