Figures released yesterday showed the construction sector contracted at its fastest rate in six months in December driven by house building being at its lowest in two years.
Forecasters had predicted a reading of 49.5 but the index was at its lowest since June, when poor weather and extra public bank holidays dented output.
Construction only accounts for 7% of Britain's GDP but its troubles reflect the weakness in the wider property sector.
More top news
Spring takes a hike - for the time being
A number of Britons are feared stranded on Mount Everest after the Nepal earthquake triggered a deadly avalanche on Saturday.
Prime Minister defends royals' decision to give birth in a private hospital - instead of going with the NHS