Construction buyers are reporting a surge in workloads, with the strongest rise in activity last month since March.

The Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI ticked-up from 52.6 in October to 52.8 in November. Any reading above 50 represents a growing market.

For the first time in half a year, commercial work improved, though input cost inflation raced ahead to a five and a half year high.

Group Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply, David Noble, commented: “The sector was on a firmer footing this month, as a slight uptick in overall activity and the strongest level of new business growth since March, resulted in more stability after a summer of uncertainty at the time of the EU vote.

“Purchasing activity grew at its fastest pace since the beginning of the year as stronger workflows and tenders materialising into actual projects prompted increased levels of stock building.

“This resulted in a sluggish response from suppliers, with the fastest lengthening of delivery times since June, as pressure on capacity and low stocks impacted on demand.

“The impact of the weaker pound was widely felt in November, with cost inflation the strongest since early 2011.

“Higher prices were reported for a number of materials including bricks, blocks and slate, as businesses struggled with managing costs.

“Yet, in spite of this grip on precious margins, headcounts were increased and demand for subcontractors was also sustained.”

However, manufacturing activity in the UK registered an unexpected decline in November due to a weak pound that is driving price pressures, industry data showed on Thursday.

In a report, market research group Markit said that its UK manufacturing PMI fell to a seasonally adjusted 53.4 last month from a reading of 54.2 in October.

Analysts had expected the index to increase to 54.5 in November. On the index, a reading above 50.0 indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.