Construction orders for the year to January were 5% higher than in the same period a year earlier, according to the latest figures from the DETR.
For the three months to January they were 1% higher than the year before but 8% lower than in the previous three months.
The fall compared with the previous three months was accounted for by the private commercial and housing sector in December, which took a dive.
However, construction orders in January were 36% up on December, giving the positive comparison with the previous year.
Private commercial orders in the three months to January were 5% higher than in the same three months a year earlier and 6% up for the 12-month period ending in January.
Private housing orders continued to fall, however, and were 18% lower than in the same quarter last year and 4% lower for the year to January.