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Two-year orders high

ORDERS for new construction work surged to a two-year high in the last quarter of 1995, boosted by the letting of major industrial and commercial contracts.

But the governments year-end construction orders figures still show the total won for 1995 was down 4 per cent on 1994.

The letting of three huge high-tech factory projects to Sir Robert McAlpine pushed the level of industrial orders up 18 per cent in 1995.

The impact of these allowed orders in the North to grow faster than elsewhere.

Large shopping and leisure jobs, many scooped by Bovis, helped orders for commercial building rise 6 per cent.

And, despite the much talked-of cut in road spending, in cash terms orders for road work increased. The volume of infrastructure work jumped eight per cent, aided by the letting of two power station contracts.