Builders were snowed under in January as the sector's recent revival threatens to be short lived, official figures show.
The construction industry managed growth of 0.9 per cent in the final three months of 2012, breaking a year-long run of decline. But January's figures, likely to have been hit by heavy snow across much of the UK, revealed a 6.3 per cent slide in output, putting the industry in danger of a plunge back into the red.
Experts warned the latest decline, driven by a 7.9 per cent fall in new work during January, shortened the odds of an unprecedented triple-dip recession after the wider economy shrank 0.3 per cent at the end of last year. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply said the industry shrank at its fastest pace for three years last month.