Output in Britain's construction industry bucked expectations of a September slowdown thanks to a jump in infrastructure work.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said construction output rose 0.3% in September, up from a revised 1.1% fall in August and above economists' expectations of a 0.4% drop.

However, the quarterly figures provided a more gloomy picture, with output slipping 1.1% in the first three months after the Brexit vote compared to a second-quarter fall of 0.1%.

The quarterly figures marked the weakest performance from the construction industry for four years.

ONS statistician Kate Davies said: "Construction fell overall in the third quarter, with small rises in infrastructure and public building work offset by large falls in repairs.

"Construction output has remained broadly flat in the last year, both before and after the recent referendum."

Infrastructure work expanded 3% month-on-month in September while public housing clocked up 5.5% growth and private house building was flat.

The rise in infrastructure work helped offset a poor performance from repair and maintenance, which slipped 1.4% in September.

Repair and maintenance also dragged down the industry in the third quarter, dropping 3.6%.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global Insight, said it was a lacklustre end to a poor quarter from the construction sector.

He added: "September's rise of 0.3% was insufficient to prevent construction output clearly contracting in the third quarter, by 1.1% quarter-on-quarter.

"This was the weakest performance since the third quarter of 2012. In fact, by contracting 1.1% quarter-on-quarter in the third quarter after a dip of 0.1% in the second quarter, the sector is effectively in recession."

The ONS update comes after the latest PMI report said sector activity was buoyed by a ''solid'' rise in housebuilding work but warned firms were being hit by Brexit uncertainty and soaring costs from the falling pound.